Siyabonga Crafters

The Siyabonga Crafters initiative, that helps create job opportunities and a source of income.

Thembi – the hands behind your chicken canvas.

Thembi excels as a master crafter and is now responsible for creating most of the canvases. She lives in the beautiful village of Mpakeni, near Nelspruit.

She works for Siphamandla in the mornings – they are a home based care organisation who visit mostly elderly patients and help them with their meds. In the afternoons, at home, she creates these chicken canvases, which are really beautiful artworks in themselves.

She is skilled, meticulous and efficient – her creations taking her under an hour from start (tearing up egg boxes) to completion. Her equipment is modest – a table, a wooden mortar and pestle (usually for maize) and a handful of ordinary kitchen utensils. She uses a coffee tin on an open fire to boil the maizena glue.

She has honed her skills over the years and she has chicken -canvas making down to a fine art. These canvases are exquisite works in themselves – perfectly executed every time..

Bongani - the new set of hands.

Bongani, the new crafter in-training, is self-thought through the boyhood interest of an uncle, who made paper mache souvenirs for local and international tourists.

Having been interested in the craft for a long time, he recently came into contact with Reinette, who has started training him in the craft of making the Chicken Canvases. Being self thought, his techniques needed refining, but through the eagerness and willingness to learn, Bongani has stepped up his game, and has started to produce canvases at a high enough quality for us to sell.