Slice of life: Beads thread my life together

Zanele Ncube is the owner of Mazet Beadworks. (Oupa Nkosi)

Zanele Ncube is the owner of Mazet Beadworks. (Oupa Nkosi)

I’ve also been played and I’m telling you, there’s no future in a man’s promises.

Did I tell you my daughter got married? Guess who did the beadwork for that wedding?

Couples come to me for their wedding beadwork. Companies come to me and want their logos done in my beadwork. I outsource to women in the townships because sometimes the orders are too much.
I’m a real businesswoman, I’m not just sitting here playing with beads.

Do you want a beaded keychain with your name on it?

This business saved my life and I have no intention of doing any other work except this. I started this business because I’m not well educated and jobs were scarce. My mom also died when I was very young and then I fell pregnant … that’s when I got played.

The guy claimed he wasn’t ready to be a father so I was forced to care for my daughter alone. He just left me. But guess how I supported my child? Through beadwork.

Did you even know that your culture could feed you?

My aunts in Mpumalanga used to do a lot of beadwork, but I wasn’t interested. But when life showed me, I decided to concentrate on my future and to start taking orders.

My only concern now is that we sell mainly to white people. Black people don’t support us as much as they used to. How will the economy grow when black people don’t want to support another black person?

They are proud of being African, but don’t want to be seen supporting another African. I don’t know what their problem is.

Hey, did I tell you I also give beadwork lessons? — Zanele Ncube, beadwork artist and owner of Mazet Beadworks. As told to Dineo Bendile.

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