Dickson & Tendai
Partners in marriage and craft.
Dickson, now 39 years, grew up in Mutekedza, a small village in Zimbabwe (Zim). He met Tendai ( 36) while visiting his grandparents’ village. She had been living with her grandmother due to her parents’ separation.
As a teenage couple, they had great hardship to endure. Initially, Dickson worked for a tobacco company and Tendai found part-time work in a Beauty Salon, however, with Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political and economic climate, the tobacco company folded and work grew scarcer for both youngsters.
Working as a team has been vital for Dickson’s craft initiative. He complains that previously, he simply could not manage large orders alone but he couldn’t trust training others with his special techniques. His unique twisted tin can style grew out of an innovative approach to creating new designs in the market. The problem with being an innovator, however, is that one is vulnerable to imitation and betrayal.
“I trained one guy to help me but the problem is that if I bring you a bowl for R15, he will come to you and sell it to you for R10”.
Nevertheless, the couple explains that they are optimistic about their lives in Cape Town, where they live with their youngest child. (Their other two boys remained in Zimbabwe.) “In Zim all things were hard. Life isn’t perfect here but compared to when we were in Zim, we have much more opportunity and we can give money home.”
Their greatest dream entails sending money back to their homeland. Dickson longs to get a big order that would help him invest his money in land back home. He dreams of building a house and reuniting his family.
Tendai dreams of furthering her children’s dreams. She explains that in Zimbabwe, the current public schooling system is abysmal. Teachers are paid very little and therefore, a decent education can only be obtained by either paying these teachers extra for private lessons or affording private school tuition.
Their dreams are humble, their message to their clientele simple: Through African Home, they are excited to get international exposure. They want to the whole world to see the beauty and skill of their handicraft.
Since working with us, they have enjoyed various orders from customised fireplace stands, twisted tin can bowls and jewellery boxes to recycled tin can kippot (yarmulkes). They have also produced beaded Vuvuzelas (a beaded plastic horn, which produces a long monotone sound. Traditionally made and inspired from a kudu horn, the Vuvuzela was used to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings. Today, it is associated and used at football matches worldwide)
Together with our design team, they have also created new vibrant products such as tin can earrings, coasters, and even an eco-conscious Zulu hat. We truly hope that our combined efforts will enable Dickson and Tendai to have a whole world of opportunity in their hands.