South Africa: Durban woman Siyasanga Tundzi is making recycling ultra trendy by turning waste fabric and matchboxes into earrings and necklaces.
The 29-year-old drama student explained to the Sunday Times that since childhood she enjoyed making her own accessories, as she has always liked having her own unique style.
“My mother used to make traditional bracelets with beads and I would watch her. At some point I started helping and began making my own earrings. So from then it became a hobby for me to make my own accessories rather than buy them” she says.
She never imagined that people would want accessories made from scraps of fabric. So in the beginning the idea was just to sell to people in her community, but word of her talent got around quicker than anticipated.
“It was only after my friend Fezisa told me I needed to find a name for my creations, that I realized I could make a business out of this,” she says. She chose to call her business Hlubi creations.
Like most startups Tundzi faced numerous problems including a lack of funds with which to buy fabric, as she was a student with no income. She decided to ask designers in her area to give her the fabric off-cuts they no longer wanted, and went around collecting the matchboxes she needed. Each item from her Hlubi Creations label is made painstakingly from scratch. They are a vibrant embodiment of South Africas style and ability to find purpose in mess.
Today she is getting orders for her neck pieces from as far away as Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Having overcome the financial challenge, the next trial is one that reflects her success as she attempts to keep up with the increased demand for her accessories.
“My dream is to own my own accessories store and employ other people so that I can make more pieces. At times some people place such big orders that I can’t accept them, as I work on my own,” she says.
Although she has a strong local market the aesthetic of African print fabric jewellery and clothing attracts tourists in droves and they are in fact the main clientele at uShaka.
Her most popular item? The Lion Match earrings.