A local man, who is making a comfortable living selling the model houses he makes from recycled rubbish, has encouraged other people to utilise their talents.Mondli Mkhize (32), from Sweetwaters, first discovered his passion for building house models and doll houses three years ago when his daughter, Khwezi, asked him to help her build a cardboard house for her school assignment. Instead of being frustrated that he had to stay up all night building the cardboard house because his daughter had told him about her assignment the night before it was due, Mkhize said he was actually surprised at how much he had enjoyed building the house. From there, Mkhize carried on building the model houses, which he sold at traffic lights in town while also working as a gardener.Mkhize said after the initial article published in Weekend Witness in May last year about his work, his business has grown tremendously.“I even had to stop working as a gardener and focus on making houses full time because people were buying making orders and donating towards my work. While working as a gardener I earned R150 per day but with model houses I would easily make around R300 or more a day,” said Mkhize. The father of four said he was able to use some of his new earnings to marry his partner, Ayanda, and even bought a plot of land in Sweetwaters where he is planning to build his dream family home. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who supports me and other artists like myself. If you have a skill or a talent you should never be ashamed to use it to feed your family because that’s your gift from God. I am never ashamed to pick up plastic bags and cardboards on the road because I know that I am doing something I love and it helps feed my family,” he said.His wife, Ayanda, said she and their eldest child, Khwezi (13), have also learnt to build houses and often help Mkhize with his projects.Mkhize said the house models he builds are usually from his imagination or from some of the houses he has seen and admired. He said he also recently started building aeroplanes and Christmas trees. In January, Mkhize said he was looking forward to start teaching youngsters how to do what he does after the principal at a local school approached him and asked if he could help teach the pupils at the school.