Ga-Rankuwa seeds come alive

Dipeu's founder Bolepu Mathabatha and Thabo Hlahla with some of the art work. Photo: Thato Mahlangu.

Bolepu Mathabatha’s business, Dipeung, was inspired by nature and the things people normally throw away.

Dipeung, which means the house of seeds, is a “breakthrough” cooperative which turns trash to gold, according to founder.

The cooperative makes bracelets from indigenous plants like yellowwood, necklaces from fruit like lemons, earrings from pods like Jacarandas, belts from medicinal plants like elands beans, rings from Proteas and bags from coconut skin.

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Mathabatha who hails from Saulsville west of Pretoria told Rekord though there were people who used recyclable materials to create art he thought his concept was different.

“We also make wall hangings from seeds and other recycled material, clocks, mirrors and other decorating products.”

He used money he had been saving for his education to register the cooperative.

“I had a bigger vision and I knew it would not have been easy to get money elsewhere or sooner. I had to be brave,” he said.

He and his four partners, Refentse Motau, Patricia Talane, Thabo Hlahla and Johannes Mpsane are the four men and a woman behind what Dipeung is today.

Mathabatha said he incorporated recyclable and organic material in the art because he cared about the environment.

“We are living in the world where people are moving towards an eco-friendly or a green conscious environment where recycling plays a critical role in preserving our planet,” he said adding that his business had a good economic potential to create jobs.

“We are confident that with a proper platform the business can reach higher strides and challenge other brands locally and internationally. We have exhibited our products in various craft shops, local and international trade shows, fashion shows, art galleries; and we have won an award and a competition.”

The team won an award in 2011 at the NYDA cooperatives awards for best product.

“It was for the international cooperatives day and we felt proud of the achievement,” he said.

“We want to be pioneers of recycling natural material into art.”

The team has showcased their work to the world at L’Artigiano, in Italy in 2013 as well as at the biggest design expo, Decorex in Midrand.

“We have also trained 15 young people in Ga-Rankuwa and 30 in Mamelodi through the Oxfam-City of Tshwane development programme.”

mk

  AUTHOR
Thato Mahlangu

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