Most of the wire weavers come from informal settlements and rural areas of South Africa. The informal settlements are comprised of very basic houses made of any available building materials, ranging from sheets of old corrugated iron to driftwood as well as cardboard. Some luckier residents have proper houses made of bricks. Many still live in very temporary type structures with no electricity, running water or sewage systems. The rural weavers live in mud huts and few have access to running water. Very few of the weavers have had a formal education – although their children are now attending schools.
The children are taught skills from a young age and are encouraged to try their hand at weaving as a hobby, as it is a way to maintain and perpetuate their tradition of hand crafting, which is embedded in the Zulu culture. However, they do not participate in the art of weaving for commercial purposes at all.
In Cape Town, wire crafters have started integrating telephone wire into their superb sculptures. It’s an ideal medium for creating colorful text and fine work, especially for companies who wish to incorporate their corporate logo into an item.