Robert Sangano is hard at work creating wreaths for the festive season.
The gardener from Constantia in Cape Town makes elaborate fresh flower wreaths by hand – and business is booming.
“Christmas is a wonderful time and using wreaths makes it more special,” he tells YOU.
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Robert is originally from Malawi. His parents were unable to take care of their seven children and couldn’t afford to send him to school.
Ten years ago, when he was 20, he left his family in search of a better life in South Africa. When he arrived in Cape Town, he found work as a gardener.
For the past six years the 30-year-old has been employed by local doctor Leigh Holloway. Robert lives on her property in Constantia along with his wife, Figus Manda (27) and their daughter, Mercy (8).
He was inspired to make his own wreaths after watching one of Leigh’s friends. “I had been watching how she makes her own wreaths, and I knew I wanted to learn as well,” he says.
Last November, with Leigh’s encouragement, he attended a workshop where he learned how to make wreaths.
“People at the workshop were so impressed by how I was able to put them together,” he recalls.
Leigh was so moved with his talent she posted his work to social media, asking people to support him.
Now he has his hands full completing orders for clients.
Robert picks plants from Leigh’s garden then carefully arranges the blooms using ribbons, wires, frames, and spray paint to add a golden finish. It takes him two-and-a-half hours to put a wreath together and he makes up to four a day.
A small wreath costs R600 and a larger one is R800.
He loves working with his hands, he tells us. When he’s not making the eye-catching wreaths, he enjoys taking care of the garden. Every day he nurses an assortment of flowers and vegetables such as broccoli, kale and other herbs.
The small business owner now hopes to make wreaths throughout the year for various occasions.
“I love working with plants and I love the smell.”