While travelling around Jozi (or anywhere in South Africa in fact) you are likely to come across the most beautifully made wire ornaments. From long stemmed rose’s to Christmas tree’s to elephant keyrings – these guys can make it all.
Us locals often glance past what these artists (I’m going to call them this as they are truly amazing) are selling. We are so used to being haggled at the traffic lights and along the streets that we often just get annoyed when they try and sell us ANOTHER keyring shaped as a heart. But if you take a look at some of the ornaments that these guys produce you will be amazed at their quality and detail.
As an assignment for my honours studies I had to make an audio slideshow of anyone telling their story. The assignment was based on The New York Times’ project One in 8 Million. The idea is to capture the story of an ordinary person, the people who you will walk past on your way to another story. There is no angle, no storyline, no hook – just one person telling their story.
I decided to do my slideshow on one the guys who make these wire ornaments. I ventured onto 7th Avenue in Melville as I know that there are a few guys along this street selling wire goods. I came across Jimmy. Jimmy is originally from Zimbabwe, he came to South Africa in 1994 and started making wire ornaments to sell. He is currently located in Melville, he has made his spot on a corner outside a currently empty shop. Jimmy makes his goods on the street and then walks up and down hoping to attract tourists or locals to buy his stuff.
Jimmy says that he will make anything, you just need to bring him a picture of what you want and he will make it. His favourite thing to make is animals. He has some lovely bead giraffes, hippo’s, elephants and other animals. The sizes come in big and small.
I don’t have the audio included on this slideshow, but here are a few photographs of Jimmy in action on 7th Avenue Melville.