Dumelang Mafumahadi.

I hope Women’s Month has been kind to you, and you still have a few more days to make it the best you can. Like Julius Malema said in his speech at the late Mama Winnie’s Funeral “we are flowers of the revolution”. So your existence alone is revolutionary Queen. Embrace it.

I am a designer of custom beaded jewellery, home décor, embroidery and beaded portraits. What you can do with beads is limitless so I’m always looking for ways to reinvent my skills and designs. I sing with the band Preformed Footsteps, offer private tutorials and assist in art workshops.

One school holiday when I was visiting my mom’s sister, ngkono Tjantjj, I opened a drawer and there were beads. She asked me to bring them and she then proceeded to teach me also giving me a necklace that she borrowed and never returned to my grandmother. From there on my parents and sisters helped me nurture this with days where we’d make items together, reading beading books and discovering the different beading techniques. I started selling a few items to friends right into varsity.

Come 2016 after schooling, I was looking for a job with not much luck and I didn’t want to go into retail. I rediscovered beading again and I haven’t stopped. I named the business after my mothers’ late sisters nkgono Tjantji (english name Alice), nkgono Margret and Mamane Benny as we’d call them. The name of the business is an acronym for their names combined AL from Alice, MA from Margret and B from Benny. Its been a journey of growth with having plenty of ideas to narrowing it down to what I can manage.

I also crochet which is something momma taught me. I was then called to come to try out some music by a friend and poet Kwena Peu and I have been singing with them for a year now, and have been offering private maths tutorials for all grades. I just love helping children learn and advance themselves. Something happens within when you allow yourself to do more than one thing, you just grow.

I express myself through my art but gather inspiration from all the other things I do and the people I meet.

Like Mama Winnie famously known for her activism and role in the struggle, she did so with class and with her beads on. Her social work inspires me to help out and volunteer myself in projects by local NGOs. Because we all have a role to play in the communities around us.

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