A Knack with Horn
Samuel Waeru and his group of merry men use raw cow horn, sourced mainly from Uganada, and create bowls, vases, jewellery, even pencil holders! Samuel started his training at teachers college – he had high hopes of one day becoming a class room teacher. Due to financial pressures for him and his family, he was unable to finish his training and found casual employment in a cow horn workshop in 2004.
He found he had a ‘knack’ for working with cow horn and in 2006, went out on his own. Small beginnings, he says he had enough money to buy a set of horns at the local sale yards. He made the most of those horns – using every single inch of them… a set of bowls, and servers, some bangles, finger rings and the beginnings of a set of serviette holders. Samuel took his product to the Maasai markets and sold them! He has built his business up from there.
Samuel has a rudimentary workshop and boiling station on his land in Kiambu, and employs 5 men when he is busy with orders. Samuel’s workshop is full of laughter and good times! The grin on this man, well, I think he must have been born with it on. Despite the grin, it is early days in business for him and the crew. Samuel has a young family and like all new business owners, struggles consistently with cash flow. Forever the optimist, I believe 2015 is going to be his year!
The cow horn these guys use to create, is truly something you have to see to believe. They travel to Uganda, a mere day trip each way, as Uganda have have a breed of cow that are famous for their horn sizes…some reaching over 1m from base to tip. Samuel buys his horns at abattoirs – why waste something that is perfectly beautiful once tended to with gusto – transports them back to Kenya with him in a matatu and then uses every single bit of it to create something spectacular – from bowls to jewellery.