Building a life out of sand

2018-04-17 06:02
Michael Myekwa busy at work.

Michael Myekwa busy at work.

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A sand sculptor from Masiphumelele says being at the beach, doing what he loves, is what keeps him going.

Although Michael Myekwa spends most of his time at Fish Hoek Beach, he has worked on some of the most famous beaches across the country where he does different sand sculptures admired by many.

The father of two, originally from the Eastern Cape, says it all started at his childhood home in Mdantsane, outside East London, and he has perfected his skills over time. “It all started at home when I was a kid and we were playing with clay and we would make different kinds of animals. That was our everyday thing and each day I would want to make something different and my love for sculpturing just grew from there. I have been to different beaches and people really love what I do,” he says.

Myekwa says most of his sculptures depict animals, as this was the predominant theme of his childhood creations. “Animals are my favourite, however I can do anything. I love doing things according to what is happening in our lives or events, then I do anything along those lines. I want my work to tell a story. I want to remind people of certain things, which is why I try keeping track of holidays and commemorations. This keeps me going,” he says.

For him it is not just a matter of going to the beach and starting to sculpt. “A lot goes into this. It can take me up to three hours. I have to check if the spot has enough sand and it is wet enough. Before I even start working I have to make a heap of sand which will be enough to make what I want to make. It is not an easy job but I really love it. With time I have perfected my skill and people really love my work. That also keeps me going,” he says.

Despite the fact that he is not making much money out of his sculptures, he is grateful that he because of his craft he does not have to go to bed on an empty stomach. “I know by going to the beach and making something, someone will open their hearts and they give me money. It is enough to keep me going. I buy bread and I know that I will not sleep on an empty stomach. Though you can’t rely on this, I wish I could make enough money to support my family. I also wish to get a job as a sculptor but I have never been lucky with jobs. That is why I keep going to the beach and I know that by going there I will have something to eat. However, you can’t force people to give, it just comes from them,” he says.

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