Come Inside Zangi’s Workshop

A visit to Zangi’s Home and Workshop:

Zangi has a certain zing for life that is super admirable and endearing. Working with Brass and aluminium, he creates unique African Jewellery. Last week were invited to his home and workshop for the first time. My respect for this man grew dynamically for the second time! This is no sob story – far from it – a great story of triumph under some pretty tough circumstance!

Zangi and his family live in the Mathare slum on the outskirts of Nairobi – an area known for it’s crime, displacement and extremely tough living conditions. We weaved or way through small corrugated iron lined pathways, till we reached Zangi’s home and workshop – a diamond in the rough. The morning was fresh but the previous night had seen a massive down pour of rain and the mud and rubbish throughout the little alley ways was, to be honest, mind blowing.

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As we walked (carefully) on bricks and little wooden plank bridges over open drains and mini rivers on the pathways, we were graciously welcomed by all we passed. Kids playing, young men sitting and chatting together, mammas and old men busy cleaning their small defined spaces after breakfast. It’s an eerie duality of life – surrounded by horrendous poverty and living conditions, but each encounter polite and welcoming, each space so beautifully clean and standing proud – someone’s home.

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We were received into Zangi’s home with Kenyan chai. Hot tea in hand, we entered his workshop – a well organised and remarkable creative space – another wake up call for the day….week actually! A former drug addict and self taught jeweller, Zangi has built his business gradually over the last 15 years, initially by saving 15 shillings (about 20 cents) of his daily pay as a construction worker.

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Zangi’s philosophy – provide for his family, and  help others (drug afflicted) to find their way out of destructive habits and build sustainable lives for themselves – a meaningful life. When Zangi secures large orders, he can have up to 10 men in his workshop at a time, working together, learning, supporting, making money. An awesome man with vision…I personally found more inspiration from this man and his workshop, environment, his drive and zing for life, than I have for many years. Below are a few photo’s Rose and I took on our visit – sorry they don’t do justice to the experience, I just couldn’t bring myself to take the photos I would have loved to share. We’ve ordered some fabulous new product from Zangi which we will showcase on the tinkered by website in the coming months. Sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay in touch.

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