While South Africa has no shortage of extremely talented artists, the challenge lies in finding ways for them to use these raw skills to create a better life and a sustainable income. This is where Zizamele comes in.Zizamele artists create highly sought after and collectable ceramic pieces that can now be found in homes, offices and galleries around the world. Buyers of Zizamele's award-winning pieces range from the Office of the Premier of the Western Cape to gift shops around South Africa and is increasingly exporting to international stores and galleries.Zizamele offers two product ranges: Zizamele and Protect Us."Protect Us"
is a sustainable range of ceramics and textiles which aims to create awareness around the endangered animals of South Africa. Children using our products will hopefully be inspired to protect these animals before it is too late.
The animals in our range are the Riverine Rabbit, the Rhino, the Blue Swallow and the Wild Dog. These are depicted in our designs with the wording: "Protect Us." Our brand not only aims to create awareness but we also donate a percentage of sales to organizations that are working towards the protection of these endangered species.
Our products are aimed at children and adults alike. The ceramic range consists of bowls, beakers, egg cups and T-light candle holders. The bowls and cups are thrown on a pottery wheel from white earthenware clay. These are then decorated with delightful illustrations of the endangered animals using decals. The egg-cups and T-light holders are slip-cast in stoneware for durability.
Visit us at our shop (open 7 days a week):
Kommetjie Road (M65),
Toni Spiller Burton hails from KwaZulu-Natal. She studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) where she majored in Ceramics and History of Art.
She taught high school art for 15 years and then became a ceramics lecturer. She taught the members of Zizamele Ceramics on a Craft Learnership and then resigned from lecturing to start Zizamele Ceramics in 2008.
She has 3 daughters (two of whom work part time in the business) and lives in nearby Noordhoek.
Namhla "Signoria" Solontsi
Signoria is the most mature member of the team and has been involved with clay since 2003.
She is married and has 3 children: her youngest daughter was born in 2011.
Signoria has a brilliant eye for colour and usually the brightest items at Zizamele will be made by her. Meg Ploughman, Zizamele's own personal trainer says that Signoria enjoys the exercise classes and is trying out some of Meg's recipes in order to be more healthy. Signoria will be starting computer classes in 2013 as she would like to become more involved in the admin side of the business.
Vuyelwa has built her own home in the courtyard at Signoria's house and lives with her partner and her daughter who is 13 years old and who starts high school next year.
Vuyelwa is responsible for all the candlesticks and vases at Zizamele. She makes these by hand using press-moulds. She also does the electric lamps and porcelain lights. Her loyal clients clamour for these products and in 2011 she made 300 of these single-handedly for USA client Homegoods. It did not surprise us to learn that they sold out in record time!
Sisanda came to Cape Town specifically to do the learnership in craft production at False Bay College in 2006 as she knew she had an aptitude for art. This is where she met Toni Burton who was her lecturer and who now heads the Zizamele Ceramics team.
And what a talent she has! In 2007 Sisanda won an award at the Ceramics National Exhibition for one of her early Bambanani Bowls in red clay. She also won an award at the same exhibition in 2009 for her 12-lady Bambanani Bowl in red clay with metallic finish. This show stopper (as seen in her photo) was subsequently bought for the Corobrik Collection which is housed in Pretoria.
Sisanda has two young daughters and has built her own home in Masiphumulele after two devastating fires burnt down her earlier shack and all her belongings were destroyed.
Joyce is one of the original artists who trained with Toni in 2007. She left briefly but returned following a bad taxi accident. She has developed her own product which is the range of platters. She is also tasked with firing and glazing the ceramics so she fulfils a critical role in the business. She lives with her 5 year old daughter who attends the pre-school on our campus. This is made possible by the Staff Development Fund.
Songezo joined Zizamele in 2009 after he tragically lost both his parents. A talented modeller of clay, he went on to hone his skills in the Noordhoek Pottery Village with a 6-month ceramic skills course in 2010. He creates all the slip-cast animals and he has recently begun throwing our smaller bowls on the wheel. He has been able to build his own house and he recently became a father. He is currently learning to drive through the Staff Development Fund and we hope he will do all the deliveries in the future!
Elaine is our part-time potter. She is responsible for throwing all the Bambanani Bowls on the pottery wheel. She lives in Hanover Park with her two adult children and has a number of part-time pottery jobs around Cape Town. One of which is at Herschel School where she teaches pottery. Elaine has years of experience in the ceramics industry and we look forward to her visits as she is a consummate professional.