Turning Trash Into Accessories

Siyasanga Tundzi recycles everyday items into fashionable accessories

Siyasanga Tundzi makes the most of what’s around her, using her hands and recycled trash to fashion clothing and accessories inspired by South African cultures. Her creations bring endless colour to her studio.

When Siyasanga Tundzi found herself unemployed, she used her craft skills to turn trash into highly desirable accessories. She says, “We all start somewhere and as long as we dream, the possibilities are endless.” An iconic yellow Lion Brand matchbox lends its kitschy-cool feel to a pair of dangling earrings, while the colourful geometric patterns of Ndebele homes are recreated in her beaded jewellery. But Tundzi’s thriving creative career only arose after another dream was discarded. When a lack of funding put an end to her studies, Tundzi was in the same position that many young South Africans are forced to endure. Sitting at home, unable to get a job and unsure of what to do, self-pity would have been easy.

But it was in this state of uncertainty that she found what she needed. She grew up watching her mother make beaded jewellery and had a keen interest in the craft. All that was missing was something to work with, so she decided to use what was around. Her materials included cardboard, plastic and paper from used packaging, as well as cowrie shells, fabric scraps, beads and wire. “Not only have I utilised what’s available to me, I’m also creating something that’s got the least impact on the environment,” she says.

Siyasanga Tundzi, founder of Hlubi Creations

Each item from her Hlubi Creations label is made painstakingly from scratch. They are a vibrant embodiment of South Africans’ style and ability to find purpose in mess. Having bypassed the material costs, Tundzi’s current problem is the high demand for her products. She can’t remain a one-woman show. “Moving forward, I want to have more people working with me and doing what I love,” she says. “I really want to show people that if you’ve got nothing, don’t despair,” she adds. Having found a greener way to be fashion forward, this creative recycler is furthering entrepreneurship opportunities and encouraging people to dream of the endless possibilities that South Africans have to offer with the little they have available to them.

About Beautiful News

Beautiful News unfolds the untold stories and generates positive conversations about South Africa, showcasing the extraordinary yet ordinary South Africans, their humanity, their ideas and their stories while celebrating the spirit and community of the South African people in an authentic way. The multimedia platform is founded by photographer and filmmaker Adrian Steirn, who was the visionary of the 21 Icons project that profiled the extraordinary men and women who led South Africa’s journey to democracy and helped to unite its communities. The experience of creating that project made it clear that South Africa has an abundance of people whose untold stories are worthy of celebration. Through Beautiful News, Ginkgo, the agency behind the project and 21 Icons South Africa, continues to celebrate Mandela’s spirit by generating positive conversations about people who show generosity and kindness towards their neighbours, symbolise triumph over adversity or provide inspiration within their communities.

Watch a short film on Siyasanga’s entrepreneurial journey.

Source and images: www.beautifulnews.co.za