The 10 young designers at Soulart recycle waste, turning it into artful, sought-after items. They work under the genial eye of founder Brian Sibusiso Mokhachane, who says his initiative is helping to create jobs and tackle drug abuse and littering.
A skills development initiative in Soweto is raising awareness of recycling, job creation, skills development and rehabilitation.
The Soulart Foundation tackles drug abuse, youth unemployment and litter in the vast city next to Johannesburg, through creating art from discarded materials. Soulart is the brainchild of Brian Sibusiso Mokhachane, a social entrepreneur from Soweto.
He works out of a backyard studio in Protea with 10 youth; together they create art, furniture and designs from recycled material.
“We are at the frontline of tackling substance abuse, peer pressure and unemployment that leads the youth into irresponsible behaviour,” he told Redbull Amaphiko. “They also earn commission for their work that is sold.”
SEWING FOR A LIVING
Soulart has 10 trained designers who operate the sewing machine and are experienced in the production process.
“We supply three stores in Johannesburg who stock our products. There’s also demand for our products at markets. We are now looking into expanding the number of stores that we stock to outside Gauteng.
“Our next project is turning a dumping site into a recreational park that will host an art academy. This will allow us to move production out of our backyard studio and will bring more youth into the project. This will have a bigger impact on the community as well as reducing dumping sites and raising awareness of recycling.”
According to Soulart, more than anything it is and always will be about love: love liberates, love gives, love shares, love cares, love leads, love empowers, love brings joy, love brings peace, love brings humility, love makes collaborations possible, love respects, love restores hope.
Mokhachane explained that in his understanding a social entrepreneur was a person who wanted to develop his or her community, build and inspire people.
He has made bags from fabric cut offs, chairs from discarded paraffin tins and journals from discarded files. All the designers with whom he works receive a percentage of the sales he makes.
Are you playing your part in transforming South Africa? If so, submit your story or video and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.