Tourists visiting South Africa often return home to global destinations with beaded wire artefacts: from tiny mementoes, such as key rings, to tall sculptures of giraffes. Wire and bead artisans, creating in various gauges and colours with few tools but their own hands, are common sightings on our Jozi street corners. They may have good sales one month and none the next. Income varies, yet many tenaciously continue, their need for a job pushing them to become entrepreneurs.
One such wire artist stands out from the rest. Maxwell Jaravazo is driven to create the extraordinary from a piece of wire and a handful of beads. His imagination spans beyond the Melville street corner where he used to trade from. Max crafts magic within his hands. For many years, Harald Schulz passed him on the street and they struck up a friendship. When the very first Consol Solar Jar needed a wire handle and bracing, Max was Harald’s first choice as fellow designer. Together, they made the prototype in January 2011 while sitting on the pavement of 7th Street in Melville.
As demand grew, Suntoy grew… and so did Max. Suntoy permanently employed him three years ago. As a significant member of our team, he has job security and a steady monthly income. He was promoted to Factory Supervisor and now trains and overseas a team of 12 fellow wire artisans. These men are now all under one roof from multiple street corners across our city. That’s job creation, the South African way.