Swaziland – Philile Tsabedze

Date: September 6, 2018
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Philile was introduced and attached by AMICAALL Ngwenya focal person to a volunteer who came from London. The project started with the assistance of the Peace Corps volunteer (Gena Pearson). Pearson taught them Paper recycle which she had learnt from some of colleagues.

The project aim was to help start an income generating project among the volunteers in our social center and the youth unemployment and drug abuse in and outside town. Funded by the Peace Corps office to gather around the small things (raw material) they needed for the project. As time goes they encountered challenges of finding market for their products since our Peace Corps friend left the country in 2012.During their time when  was around she was helping in marketing their products in their gatherings. They developed conflicts in the group and Philile ended up being the only one left having interest to continue with the beading. 

As a result of the knowledge she obtained, Philile manufactured paper recycled jewellery at home, using thrash from stationery shops, old pamphlets, magazines and old calendars. Using the papers, she makes designs of her choice which can be earrings, bracelets, necklaces to name a few.  Her project is a good practice because it helps keep her town clean from used papers as she has become the “trash bin for the unwanted paperwork’s”. On another note this practice helps in meeting Swaziland Environmental Authority (SEA) services halfway through going green”.

The paper recycling is an Eco friendly and does not cause air pollution. Philile’s innovative business highly aims at saving the environment for a sustainable fashion, eye catching jewellery that surprises and inspire buyers and on lookers. Some of the profits made from selling the bead work helps in the social center in providing some of the necessities e.g. meals, floor polish, play equipment, for the children. 

Philile then joined Swaziland Council of Arts and Culture to have access in the country’s flea markets or fairs. From there she moved around almost half of the country having flea markets/ exhibitions. Tsabedze was also identified by SEDCO as an original artist that does not purchase from others for resales, so they started inviting her when they had exhibitions. Since she started attending the fairs she managed to sell more jewelries and provide more for her family from the past five years.

Tsabedze has partnered with Cabanga Beads whose founder is Samantha Webster who was born in Africa but now resides in London, where she is running an Art Gallery. Selling in the gallery helps a lot. She is currently planning to do a coalition with her neighboring school (Ngwenya Central Primary) practical Arts teacher. She wants to teach the youth on how to make the jewelry which can help some of them to start their own arts businesses. Also planning to start a charcoal project with the same kids that will help in their soup kitchen since Ngwenya area has scarcity of firewood.   

Philile’s main challenge was that people are not supportive of art, they prefer buying glass beads from clothing shops, not from their fellow artists. Funding and making promotions became another challenge. To overcome her challenges, Philile opened a Facebook page, Instagram, WhatsApp and use her friends together with relatives in promoting the business. She would give out a necklace for example to a friend, so she could wear while advertising at the same time. She further used Cabangabeads.com as an email to get more customers.