Supporting his family on bamboo

Nomampondo Plaatjie
THE humble bamboo helps a Jeffrey’s Bay man to support his family.
Terence Madzimure has been making bamboo chairs and other products for eight years.
Madzimure moved from Humansdorp two years ago in search of better business opportunities.
“I was already selling my things in Jeffrey Bay,” he said.
Although the chairs are his main focus he also makes fruit, picnic and washing baskets. He said his business does well enough to support his two toddlers who keep him busy in the caravan they call home.
He sells his wares on the streets and works alone. One of the challenges for his business is bad weather.
“I cannot work on rainy days because I work outdoors,” he said.
Madzimure makes about 15 chairs a week but he could make more if he had storage space.
He hires a truck to transport the bamboo from Hankey and wishes he had his own vehicle. “It would be much easier if I had my own truck.”
Madzimure describes his business as a way of healing the soul. In the past he had problems controlling his temper. The young man lost his mother when he was very young. He said the loss made him an angry young man.
“I joined my father in boxing,” he said.
“I got into the sport to intimidate and beat people up.”
He soon realised he was in the game for the wrong reasons.
“To me it was all about hurting the opponent,” he said.
His attitude changed when his grandparents took him in and showed him how to make the chairs and baskets. He also said that his business is more than a business.
“It keeps me calm and gives me peace,” he said.
In the past a few people had taken an interest in his craft but soon bailed out saying that working with bamboo was very difficult.
“I would like to share my knowledge with others,” he said.
Madzimure also works with zinc and makes basins. He does a bit of welding to make extra cash.

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