Malindi transforms woodcarving passion into source of revenue

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Mulisa Malindi from Tshandama village began his journey into woodcarving with a deep admiration for skilled elderly men, including his father, Joseph Malindi, who could transform simple blocks of wood into beautiful artwork. Inspired by them, he took decided to learn the art of woodcarving.

During his early years, Malindi dedicated countless hours to observing the techniques of village artisans and understanding the cultural significance behind each piece. Despite lacking formal training, his commitment to mastering the art was evident as he practiced and refined his skills.

He became proficient in creating detailed and expressive carvings, selling them to locals. His distinctive blend of traditional and contemporary designs captivated many.

Malindi sources wood from nearby mountains and uses it to carve various types of art, such as traditional drums and animals for decoration, as well as fulfilling customer requests. “I am grateful for the support I receive from my customers. My art pieces also focus on preserving and celebrating culture; each one carries a narrative that bridges the past with the present,” he said.

Malindi’s journey has not always been an easy one. One obstacle is customers’ not paying for work done. He credits elderly woodcarvers who assisted him in sharpening his skills. “They were always there to correct my mistakes and guide me. I also took it upon myself to teach others the art of carving, hoping to pass down this skill to the next generation,” he said.

Malindi urges young people to leverage whatever resources are at their disposal to earn a living instead of relying solely on government assistance.



Woodcarver Mulisa Malindi from Tshandama village encourages youths to leverage whatever resources are at their disposal to earn a living. Photo supplied.


By: Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga started as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people. Currently he works as a freelance journalist, covering stories in the Elim area.

Thembi studied at the Tshwane University of Technology, where he completed his diploma in Journalism in 2021.






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