About us – Zizamele

“The Art of Changing Lives”

Zizamele Ceramics was founded in 2008 by Toni Burton who taught ceramics skills at a local college.  She taught the present members of Zizamele on an 18-month long job creation course in craft production.  Once the group had qualified, it seemed inconceivable to send the participants back to a life of poverty in their local township, Masiphumulele.
Toni is the entrepreneur of the group and a few very tough years followed while she established the products in the marketplace.  Two things were in place – a talented and loyal team and a great product.  

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All the original artists are still part of Zizamele plus two new members who joined the group more recently.
The signature product is the UBUNTU BOWL, an African version of the Friendship Bowl.  The female figures hold hands around the rim of a handthrown bowl, in a spirit of unity, wearing their traditional African headscarves with their babies on their backs.

 

Making World Class Ceramics in Africa

Zizamele creates highly sought after and collectable ceramic pieces that can be found all around the world as they are increasingly exporting to various countries. Product development and training is ongoing and each artist is encouraged to develop their own speciality.

The staff have been offered shares in the business and are being assisted to embrace the new responsibilities and roles that this entails.  Plans for the future include an expanded product range that includes a new ceramic range, textiles and jewellery.

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Come meet us up close

Every one of our team members is devoted to delivering the finest possible product.

Toni Spiller Burton

Toni Spiller Burton

Toni studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT), is the Creative Director of Zizamele Ceramics.

Namhla Solontsi

Namhla Solontsi

Signoria has a brilliant eye for colour and usually the brightest items at Zizamele will be made by her.

Vuyelwa Katshwa

Vuyelwa Katshwa

Vuyelwa is responsible for all the candlesticks and vases at Zizamele. She makes these by hand.

Sisanda Mbana

Sisanda Mbana

She won an award at the Ceramics National Exhibition for one of her early Bambanani Bowls in red clay.

Joyce Mfene

Joyce Mfene

is one of the original artists who trained with Toni in 2007.

Nkuli Sam

Nkuli Sam

Nkuli is a true artist and we are so blessed to have her in our team.

Pumeza Koshe

Pumeza Koshe

She completed a computer course and is now set to take on the admin tasks in the office.

Songezo Mrwebi

Songezo Mrwebi

He has his own range of salad bowls which he produces in three sizes.

Come meet us up close

Every one of our team members is devoted to delivering the finest possible product.

Toni Spiller Burton

Toni graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT  where she studied ceramics under the late John Nowers. After having taught high school art for 15 years she lectured in ceramics and then trained thirty unemployed residents of Masiphumulele in ceramic skills.
She is the Creative Director of ZC and handles all the marketing and product development.

Namhla Solontsi

Namhla (called “Signoria”) creates the brightest ceramics in our range and is the maker of the planters!  She is married and has two sons and two daughters.  She uses the initials NSS on her work.

Vuyelwa Katshwa

Vuyelwa makes all the candlesticks and vases using press moulds and hand-modelling the women figures which she adds later.  She has a very vibrant sense of pattern and colour ensuring that her products are the best sellers in our range.  She has two daughters and uses the signature VK.

Sisanda Mbana

Sisanda joined the programme from the Eastern Cape when she was alerted to the training and soon proved her exceptional talent.  She won an award at the Ceramics South Africa Nationals Exhibition in 2008 for her 6lady Ubuntu Bowl made in terracotta clay.  She also had a 12lady Ubuntu Bowl in pastel colours and gold lustre chosen for the Corobrik permanent ceramics collection which is housed in Pretoria.  She is also the creator of the 12Player Soccer Bowl bought by the Iziko Museum in 2010 (see above video for image)  She is the mother to three daughters.  Her signature is SM.

Joyce Mfene

Joyce is an all-rounder whose consistent high quality makes her work very desirable.  The 12Lady Ubuntu Bowl in White on white in the video above was created by her.  She has two daughters and uses the initials JM on her work.

Songezo Mrwebi

Songezo joined Zizamele when he was only 18 years old and was one of the trainees on the Noordhoek Pottery Village in 2010.  He was trained on the pottery wheel by various mentors such as Elaine Peterson and Lissa Claasens.  He now throws all the Ubuntu Bowls on the pottery wheel and makes the slip cast products.  He is a father to two young sons and uses the signature S.Mr on his products. 

Nkuli Sam

Nkuli has been a ceramicist for many years.  She works on the Metallic on Black as well as the Women of Africa range.  She is an extraordinarily talented artist who amazes with her attention to detail and exciting designs.  Her signature is NS.

Pumeza Koshe

Pumeza is our dispatch clerk and handles all the orders.  She recently completed a computer course and is being trained to take over all aspects of the online store and wholesale orders.  She has a Ph.d in packaging and any orders she packs will definitely arrive in perfect condition!  She has one son who attends the pre primary school on our campus.  

Faith Mbanga and Pamela Chigonde are our special sales-ladies at the Watershed store.  Both these women are highly trained and will give you fantastic service in our retail outlet!

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