Artist wants to plough back

2019-10-01 06:00
Lameck Tayengwa finds wood carving and sketching bring him peace.

Lameck Tayengwa finds wood carving and sketching bring him peace.

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It was 10 years ago when Lameck Tayengwa first came to Cape Town. The craftsman from Zimbabwe arrived in the city in 2009 in search of greener pastures.

He opened a trading stall at the Gardens Shopping Centre where he sold a range of wood carvings and drawings.

Since then, his business has grown from strength to strength. His work attracts a lot of attention from visitors to the centre.

The Dunoon resident says many of his customers have told him he should consider teaching art as a means to earn an extra income. Although the 39-year-old likes the idea of teaching others, he does not want to charge for it. Instead, he wants to teach for free in return for all the love the Mother City has shown him.

Lameck plans to hold free training sessions in the central business district (CBD) from a central location accessible to the youth in and around Cape Town.

“Art is not about making money. Unfortunately, the most talented artists are often the poorest who cannot afford formal education,” Lameck says.

“I know what it feels like to be an artist with little or no platform to showcase your passion on.

“If it weren’t for my father, I do not know if I would be here today. Instead of pursuing professional teaching to earn big, I want to create a platform for those in the townships. My challenge is to find a suitable place to hold the classes,” explains Lameck.

He says he grew up in a poor family. They were dependent on his father who also worked as a craftsman. He says he started working with his father at the age of nine. When not at school or out herding cattle, he would help his father make carvings.

His love for art prompted him to register at a local college.

After graduation, he started designing and selling his work, but sales were very slow.

Lameck says he decided to test the waters in South Africa by attending big markets where he would sell his carvings and then return to Zimbabwe, having made a “good profit”.

Before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Lameck says he decided to settle in Cape Town permanently. He is grateful for the warm welcome he received from those who noticed his talent.

Lameck now wants to plough back.

He says when you take the time to look, you will see many young people on the streets who have “gold in their hands” but no platform to nurture their talent.

“Some are willing to make something out of their talents, but training is expensive,” he says.

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