- Bomikazi Chinhamo spent her childhood watching her mother sell chickens, vegetables, and eggs on the side of the road.
- She is the owner of Clareb Accessories, which specialises in traditional handcrafted accessories and home décor with a global footprint.
- "I am happy that people now understand that cultural wear is not inferior. It is a symbol of awareness and self-actualisation. For me, it is liberation!"
Bomikazi Chinhamo spent her childhood watching her mother, who was a street hawker, selling chickens, vegetables, and eggs on the side of the road.
The street corner where her mother would be found every day, Bomikazi says, is the reason she was able to start a thriving business that embraces heritage.
She is the owner of Clareb Accessories, which specialises in traditional handcrafted accessories and home décor with a global footprint.
"Every day after school in a village called Corhana in the Eastern Cape, it was my responsibility to go to my mother's stall and take over the stall while she headed home to prepare meals for the day for our family."
Her mother's stall was about 5km away from home.
While other children rushed home to play, she knew that her responsibility was to look after the business that put food on the table. This would happen even on weekends and school holidays.
"I was never ashamed of helping my mother. I would even sell peaches at school. This continued until I went for tertiary in Gqeberha."
Chinhamo obtained a diploma in Operations Management as a result of her mom's sacrifices.
"I also need to mention that my brother obtained a PhD from that stall," she says.
When she looks over the lessons learnt from time spent on that stall, she can't help but be grateful for her role model, her mother, who sadly died two months ago.
"Of our conversations, she spoke mainly about working hard to achieve my dreams, letting God lead the way and, more importantly, respecting people regardless of their social or economic status. Impacting people with little or no opportunities for employment was planted there. I dreamt of a world where vagabonds, the downtrodden, villagers who have been through rural peasantry life and the poor would have a meal on the table," she adds.
In 2016, as a result of watching her mother, who did craftwork in her spare time and seeing women on the pavement selling handcrafted work while accompanying her mother to collect her pension money, her love for it started growing. When she started working and had the resources to buy what she needed to start her own business, she started designing pieces for bead artists.
"I targeted specifically those ladies because I knew that income from the beads would change their lives."
It is not just a business, she stresses.
"Heritage work is very important to me because it creates an identity for Africans. African history is very rich but unfortunately was recorded with an afro-centric point of view, real African history is manifested in artwork which includes beads and other artwork."
She says it is exciting to see South Africans and Africans embrace their heritage through art because it is a weapon to rewrite a distorted history.
Bomikazi says: "I am so excited that Africans have come to the realisation that Africa has a history which is as rich and important as European history. I am happy that people now understand that cultural wear is not inferior. It is a symbol of awareness and self-actualisation. For me, it is liberation!"
She says she owes success in all areas of life to that stall.
"Life has no meaning for people that are self-conceited. Help others so that you can also be successful, and if you can make a small impact in your little corner as an individual with far-reaching consequences and also follow your passion, the rest will come," Bomikazi adds.