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Recycled Jewels of Harare, Zimbabwe

So much of Zimbabwe’s once productive farmland lies dormant since Mugabe’s redistribution of land. (An incredible documentary to watch is Mugabe and the White African – it is a story of moral courage about a family who stand up against the Zimbabwean government, refusing to leave their farm or desert their workforce.)

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However, not only has an organic farm near Harare managed to keep going, they are also employing farm workers’ wives and sisters to make beautiful jewellery by recycling old magazines and catalogues.

We visited the farm and watched the women create this unusual jewellery and made an order for Vagabond Van.

Woman working on the farm with sunflowers in foreground, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Peta and her workers, Harare, Zimbabwe

Peta (pictured right), the farm owner's daughter, started the recycled paper jewellery project two years ago.

 

Sewing machine and women making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Woman in red hat making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Woman making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Old magazines and catalogues are cut, rolled with glue and then varnished to make individual beads.

 

Paper rolled and varnished to make jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Once the paper is varnished it becomes hard and strong, you can even wear the jewellery in the rain "but perhaps not in the bath" warned Peta.

 

Woman enjoying her work making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

While the women worked deftly, the piles of candy beads grew and the radio spluttered soft African beats.

 

Coloured rolls of varnished paper used to make jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

You can see why the necklaces are called Candy Chains - they look almost edible like sweets.

 

Woman with baby on back making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

It's a great way for these women to help support themselves and their families. They come when they wish and can bring their children too.

 

Woman making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Lucie in the mirror adorned with rolled varnished paper looking at jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Even the mirror was adorned with paper beads.

 

Woman making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

Bow Wow lying down beside piles of books, Harare, Zimbabwe

Bow Wow found a nice spot to snooze by some catalogues.

 

Woman adding beads to rolled paper to create candy chain necklace, Harare, Zimbabwe

Stitching glass beads into the recycled paper produced a quirky effect.

 

Bow Wow looking cute, Harare, Zimbabwe

"Isn't it time for a walk?" Bow Wow couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

 

Woman with baby on her back making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Baby Future snoozed contentedly on her beading mother's back.

 

Woman with baby on her back making jewellery, Harare, Zimbabwe

Lucie wearing earrings made from bottle caps, Harare, Zimbabwe

These earrings are made from bottle caps and are now available to buy, along with the recycled paper jewellery, at VagabondVan.com.

 

Hut made from bottles, Harare, Zimbabwe

Peta organised for twenty children living in rural areas in Zimbabwe to come and camp at the farm for a week. While they were there they made this extraordinary hut made from old bottles and cans. The children have been inspired to make similar huts in their own villages.

 

Hut made from bottles, Harare, Zimbabwe

The hut actually sings when the wind blows as it whistles through the bottles. Workers on the farm use the hut as a church and sometimes a cinema when they erect a big white sheet and project films.

 

Men working on the farm with sunflowers in foreground, Harare, Zimbabwe

Men working on the farm with sunflowers in foreground, Harare, Zimbabwe-2

We were so inspired by Peta and the women we met and hope to help this wonderful enterprise grow.

 

Available Exclusively at Vagabond Van…

Girl Wearing Bottle Cap Earrings from VagabondVan.com Candy Chain Necklaces from VagabondVan.com Girl Wearing Dragonfly Earrings from VagabondVan.com
Bottle Cap Earrings from VagabondVan.com Girl Wearing Candy Chain Necklace from VagabondVan.com Dragonfly Earrings from VagabondVan.com

 

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3 Responses to “Recycled Jewels of Harare, Zimbabwe”

  1. Peta says:

    Lucien and Lachlan

    Hello, so lovely to see the photos, they are beautiful, will print copies for the women. How are the sales going? Just to let you know we now have a website and are working with orphans in Tafara and teaching them to make our beads so we can complete larger orders- the enterprise is expanding so let us know if you need any more.

    How is your trip going? I hope Africa continues to embrace you every day.
    Take Care

    Love
    Peta

  2. Chembo says:

    I watched the documentary on channel four around end of lastyear
    It is by far the saddest documentary I have seen.
    The family and how they were mistreated. I feel that in a world which has already caught with everyman is equal, mugabe remains in the past.
    It is sad truth!
    The white family did not deserve to have their home burnt, to be beaten, nobody deserves that at all.

    everyone should get it
    it is incredibly sad

  3. Thanks for the great read. Keep it up!

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