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    Home / Innocent’s Story

    Innocent’s Story

     Innocent Silenje

    Innocent’s smile and gentle manner belief and confidence and ability to create beautiful beaded pieces both small and large, simple or complex. He has the respect of his peers in that they recognize that he can guide them through difficult design work in the best possible way.

    Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1986, he was the second youngest of 7 siblings. Whilst he enjoyed a happy childhood, there were constant financial difficulties since there were many mouths to feed in a poverty-stricken economy. Innocent’s father died when he was 16, and although his mother kept her job as an assistant in a boarding school, Innocent was unable to complete his education because of insufficient funds.

    After leaving school, Innocent worked as a gardener for 2 years and then as a temporary teacher in “building studies” at his old school.

    Innocent came to Cape Town in 2008 in search of better-earning possibilities. Whilst looking for other work he noticed that some of his countrymen were earning well from creating handcraft out of wire and beads. He was 22 years old when he decided to try his hand at beadwork and soon found that he had a talent for making a range of sculptures.

    image036He started working for a company that produces handcraft and gained experience and an ability to work fast. He stayed in this position for 3 years but then in 2012, he decided to start working on his own since he wanted to initiate his own craft business and create crafts independently rather than simply follow instructions mechanically.

    Innocent married Silungile in 2009, a girl from his home town, whom he taught to work with wire and beads. Silungile was soon helping him with his orders. They now have a 4-year-old daughter who is currently being cared for by his mother in Zimbabwe.

    He started working with us in July 2013 and we have found him to be not only a master craftsman, who has an eye for detail and can create any type of design, but also a respected teacher/ trainer. Large orders do not faze Innocent since he gathers craftsmen together and quietly instructs them on the best way to tackle a project. His passion for teaching is infectious and many crafters are enriched through working with him.image037

    Since working with African Home he has been able to find better housing and has improved his earning capacity. Innocent specializes in wire and beadwork and has co-produced some life-size animals like a rhino and a buffalo. He has also produced items out of recycled tin cans including radios, animals, and cars.

    His aspirations are to complete his matric and resume studying with the aim of returning to become a teacher of “building studies”.

    He also hopes to be able to bring his daughter to live with him and his wife in Cape Town. African Home is committed to supporting Innocent to actualize these dreams.


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