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Horn & Bone Earrings from Zimbabwe

Girls wearing Horn & Bone Tribal Hoop / Spike Earrings

East of Harare, in a pretty little agricultural town, lives a journalism graduate and Jason Bourne fan called Joseph who makes jewellery out of cow horn and bone. We came across his work at a market in Harare and arranged to visit his workshop and develop some tribal inspired earrings exclusively for Vagabond Van.

His town has been suffering from power cuts and sabotaged water supplies. Some believe that this is because there is a strong underground following for Mugabe’s opposition, the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) and that making it uninhabitable is a very effective way of changing minds in the run up to the elections.

Joseph in his outdoor workshop in Zimbabwe.

Either way, the lack of electricity (it comes on, if at all, only at night) meant that we didn't get to see Joseph's outdoor workshop in full swing. Although horn and bone is traditionally used in African adornment, Joseph has modernised the process by inventing an amazing electricity driven cutting and buffing machine which gives his creations their fabulous polished finish.

 

Joseph's machine that he uses to make earrings, Zimbabwe.

Joseph's electric motor machine has a fan belt which rotates a shaft. Cutting blades, drills, sand paper and buffing cloths can be connected to either end of the shaft to carve and polish the horn and bone.

 

Joseph holding a cow horn that he makes earrings from, Zimbabwe.

The horn and bone is sourced from abattoirs and would otherwise be burnt if not used to make jewellery.

 

Polished vegetable ivory, Zimbabwe.

Joseph makes ethical necklaces from these polished seeds which are known as vegetable ivory.

 

Sign for Blesses Welders and Sadza Pano, Zimbabwe.

The outdoor workshop is situated behind Blessed Welders - 'We melt steel to your satisfaction. Your wish is our command!'. No one has to wish very hard for delicious sadza, that's for sure.

 

Blessed Welders having a break, Zimbabwe.

Blessed Welders taking a break.

 

Mural on wall inside Joseph's home, Zimbabwe.

We spent the afternoon at Joseph's home and as the rain battered down on the corrugated roof, together we came up with some earring designs which bring out the natural beauty of the horn and bone.

 

Joseph's children watching us from the kitchen doorway, Zimbabwe.

His little ones watched on, quietly curious.

 

Joseph's son lifting a cow horn with buckets in the background to collect the rain, Zimbabwe.

The piped water here is not safe to drink (there have been outbreaks of cholera) and so Joseph collects rain water in strategically placed buckets as it runs off his roof.

 

1Outside in Joseph's yard with his children and the Landy, Zimbabwe.

As we were leaving, Joseph gave us a custard apple from his tree which tasted exactly like crème brûlée.

 

Joseph demonstrating how to use his machine, Zimbabwe.

We have been so inspired by Joseph's enterprise and hope to help his business grow by marketing his work to the world.

 

A cool dude selling phones to excited customers on the street, Zimbabwe.

Despite recent adversity, Joseph's town still has plenty of pavement panache.

 

Available Exclusively at Vagabond Van…

Tribal Hoop Earring LW21 Vagabond Van Tribal Hoop Earring MW10-Close Vagabond Van Tribal Hoop Earring LW26 Vagabond Van
Tribal Hoop Earring MB13-Close Vagabond Van Tribal Hoop Earring LW10 Vagabond Van Tribal Hoop Earring MW5-Close Vagabond Van

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One Response to “Horn & Bone Earrings from Zimbabwe”

  1. LENNY CHIAT says:

    HOWZIT GUYS,
    YOUR STORIES ARE TRULY AMAZING AND THIS ONE IS QUITE INSPIRATIONAL.
    FROM SUCH ADVERSITY TO BEING SO MOTIVATED IN HIS QUEST FOR SUCCESS, JOSEPH SHOWS THE WORLD THAT NO HURDLES ARE BIG ENOUGH TO OVERCOME.
    HIS ITEMS ONLY NEED TO BE MARKETED WELL AND HE WILL SOAR WITH THE WIND.

    WELL DONE ON BRINGING HIS ART TO US ALL.

    MEANWHILE BACK AT HOME ALL IS GOOD.
    SO WHEN ARE WE SEEING YOU AGAIN……….SOON?!!

    TRAVEL SAFE
    LENNY

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