Journeying through Swaziland, one cannot ignore the beauty of the flowing, rolling hills. The changing colours of the rocks as the sun sets, pouring it's fire on the mountains. Dotting the landscapes are Malothi Aloes and rocky outcrops with colossal granite boulders. The giant Gum tree plantations dominate too with tall fire watchtowers, radio masts and trig beacon marking the horizon.
On major intersections where people meet, usually sit some kind of market. After the fruit and veggies, appeared 2 stands working in galvanized steel. Making a variety of watering cans, resivoirs, buckets and hut protectors, I noticed a large pile of off-cuts rusting in a field behind the store.
Feeling inspired to share and create, I introduced myself, asked the prices of their products, how the business had started and what issues they faced.
Inspired and supported by the house on fire, Thulani started his own business with his brother 3 years ago. Things were fine until some guys from Mozambique came and started their own store, doing the same thing right next to them.
I asked him about the off-cut metal, he said it was still worth something as scrap metal, but he would just throw it away, if no-one came to collect it.
I had wanted him to see more worth and value in the metal as potential artworks.
So my mind went to the surrounding Malothi Aloes- their iconic shape and presence on the mountains. I also had the idea to catch the sun with the angle of reflection from the shiny steel. Sparks on the horizon filled my imagination.
And so, I paid cost price for the scrap, found a pole, and started cutting the scrap into leaf shapes. Soon everyone was involved, even the guys from mozambique came over and helped. With this many hands it was finished quickly.
Thulani, Duduze and myself then took it up the mountain to see if we could catch the sun before it set.
Mt. Mzimba - Mountain of the King
After capturing the images seen here, I then gave the Sun Aloe to Thulani as a gift. He said he wanted to sell it and imitate the design. I said fine. I had done what I had needed to do- he saw the new value in his scrap metal and understood the concept of rethinking and reusing. We had also created a new cultural experience, exchanged skills, expanded our creativity and touched each others lives - All using waste, all in a day.
And so my journey continues...