Handmade Goods Highlight – Wire & Bead African Animals

Head to your local study abroad fair this fall for a chance to win a basket of handcrafted artisan goods from all over the world! These handmade items come from some of ISA’s service-learning locations where students have the opportunity to take classes abroad while they work on the front lines to enrich and support local communities. These special prizes will be raffled off during your campus study abroad fair, so keep an eye out for the ISA booth!

African beaded animals

Zimbabwe-born Richard Tityiwe became a crafter when he turned a hobby into his full-time occupation. The variety and quality of his work prove this was a good choice.

Tityiwe was born in the Harare Province and explains that in Zimbabwe schools, it’s compulsory to do all sorts of craft work in the primary grades. This includes things like painting, paper maché, and wire-art. Teachers also stress the importance of hand skills.

“During that time l was in grade 5, we went for a trip to Victoria Falls – our main tourist destination in Zimbabwe,” says Tityiwe. “There I saw that one could actually make a living from crafts.”

Despite his talent and passion for craftwork, Tityiwe didn’t launch his crafting career right away.

“After matric, l went to college to study Health Systems Management. I was working for the Ministry of Health as a Health Information Officer, so I could only do craftwork during weekends, just as a hobby. My career in craft started when l moved to South Africa in March 2003.

But jobs were hard to find. Since l had to survive, l used my hand-skills and discovered that crafting was big business here. Since then, I never looked for work again and just pursue my crafting career.”

Over the years, Tityiwe’s crafting business has taken off and evolved to include some new handcrafted products.

“I started by making key rings and bowls,” he explains. “During that time in 2003, I was selling [my goods] at the traffic lights. Then, later in 2004, l got a place to sell my craftwork at the Howard Centre in Pinelands. Later l moved to Riverside Centre in Rondebosch. At that stage, l had to increase my range according to my clients demand and started to make new items like lampshades, animals, birds, and animal heads.”

Tityiwe currently has a stall at the Country Craft Market in Somerset West, so stop by if you’re studying abroad with ISA in Cape Town!

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