Beaded animals south africa

Beaded animals south africa DEFAULT

Monkeybiz is a South African non-profit organization of over Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho women, who create unique beadworks for sale, rekindling the ancient art and craft of South African beadwork. The women, mostly from the very poor Townships of Cape Town, South Africa, suffuse the artworks with the vivid colors, textures, stories and expressions of Southern Africa. It is the very personal inspiration and interpretation of each artist that brings such energy, life and spirit to each one-of-a-kind creation.

By buying these beautiful, one-of-a-kind beaded art pieces, Monkeybiz provides the women –many of whom are HIV positive - a sustainable way to support themselves and their families. The project also supports a wellness clinic that provides a hot meal for the woman and her children, medical, nutritional and emotional support as well as the community support of other women in the same situation. It is a lifeline for women in extreme poverty. In addition to a soup kitchen, Monkeybiz launched a burial society for its members. Because of the increasing financial constraints experienced by the community due to the overwhelming costs of funerals, Monkeybiz contributes half of the cost of a funeral plan per month. This helps with costs of funerals, travel, and associated costs, allowing the women to be covered in these unfortunate circumstances.

Monkeybiz Exhibition

Street Wires Beaded Animals

Recycled wire + creativity + passion = Streetwires

Streetwires is all about the people: the South African artists who imagine, design and create an astounding range and variety of beaded wire products.

When we stumbled upon their studio in the funky Bokaap district of Capetown, we new instantly that their fantastic wire animals needed a new home here at The African Fabric Shop.

Isn't it amazing what they can do with a few coloured beads and some recycled wire?

Bead size and scale

As a visual clue to the size and scale of our beads, we use a Star beer cap in our bead images. Why Star? Because it's the major beer of Ghana where most of our beads are made. Also, on the buy pages, we indicate approximate bead dimensions in millimetres.

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WIREWORX beaded animals & beaded key chains from South Africa and Zimbabwe

WIREWORXis a member of the Fair Trade Federation!


We offer an exclusive range of handcrafted, fair trade beaded animals and beaded key chains from South Africa&#;s and Zimbabwe&#;s most talented glass bead and wire artisans! Whether you want a beaded animal key chain for a gift or to attach to your purse, schoolbag or backpack, a mini beaded animal figurine to add to your animal figurine collection or to decorate your child’s room or larger beaded animal figurines for indoor or garden decor then WIREWORX is the address!

Each beaded animal is created by one of our master designers under our guidance. A single design can take a day or even a few weeks and considerable tweaking until it meets our approval. We study images and research details of an animal then provide pictures, sketches, color schemes and suggestions to our designers. They begin by shaping heavy gauge galvanized steel wire into a frame in the shape of an animal. Next, the artisans bead numerous shimmering glass seed beads onto finer, more flexible wire and wrap and secure the beaded wire over the animal frame. A single standard WIREWORX beaded animal can take hours to create!

Bead and wire crafting is an original African art form. Young men in South Africa and Zimbabwe would spend spare time, partially due to high unemployment, creating recycled crafts and toys from scrap wire, tin and other materials. This has become known as township art. The wire framing is mostly done by men, as it requires considerable strength in addition to skill. Various individuals and organizations discovered this talent and assist these budding artisans with materials and training to enable them to develop marketable skills and crafts.

Many artisans, mostly amateurs, can be found selling their beaded animals and beaded animal key chains on South African street corners and at craft markets and the more talented artisans are selling their work at more upscale venues and for export. We&#;re confident that WIREWORX African beaded animals and beaded key chains are the finest quality available.

Unfortunately this original African art form is being copied in China to take advantage of cheaper labor and materials. Some consider this cultural theft and at the very least it shows disregard for the African artisan&#;s livelihood and culture. Much deserved and needed revenue has been taken away from the original African artisans. Purchasing WIREWORX African beaded animals helps the artisans, mostly Zimbabweans either working in their home country or as economic refugees living in South Africa, enjoy a rewarding career and to honorably support themselves and their families back home, giving them the opportunity for a better life and education.

WIREWORX is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. Our Zimbabwean and South African bead and wire artisans determine their own prices, enabling them to receive fair and decent wages. They work from the convenience and comfort of their homes and choose their own hours and pace. We assist our artisans with the purchase of materials, provide a considerable down payment, pay them in a timely fashion and set reasonable deadlines. We provide guidance and feedback to help them maximize their artistic potential and to improve their time management and quality control. We show utmost respect for their culture and share an open and honest relationship. WIREWORX artisans know that they can depend on us, giving them financial security and opportunity for growth.

The wire used in WIREWORX handmade beaded animals is mostly recycled and nothing but pliers are used in their creation. In addition, our artisans mostly work at home, often outdoors in the mild Southern African climate and use public transport, placing a minimal carbon footprint on the environment. We&#;re also committed to limiting our impact on the environment in the running of our business. We re-purpose boxes and packing material, do minimal printing, use energy efficient lighting, run our business from home and keep transportation to a minimum.


These wonderful beaded animals and dolls are created by enterprising women living in the townships surrounding Capetown, South Africa. The work has come to us from a project to employ and empower women in the townships of Mandela Park, Khayalitsha and Phillipi. The MonkeyBiz Project provides each woman with the glass beads and pays cash for each doll or bag she produces. The women and men currently participating in the project are producing a variety of one-of-a-kind dolls and bags. In designing and creating these artworks, the women draw on and renew the rich artistic traditions of their several ethnic groups - Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, Sotho and others. In thse works the bead artists of the Cape townships are creating a new, often humorous and sometimes quite startling synthesis of folk traditions.

Last Updated: 

February 25,


Animals africa beaded south

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