George Mahaso – African Home

George Mahaso was born and grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. When he was 13 years old, he began to make and sell wire cars so he could earn money to buy clothes for himself, as well as for toys for his seven siblings. He immigrated to South Africa when he was 23, part of a wave of young artists who were self-taught in creating wire products and seeking employment opportunities not available in Zimbabwe. He discovered, along with many other artisans, that when they completed product orders, they were often paid less than initially promised. As he continued to seek opportunities to sell his crafts, George deepened his skills as a wire artist, and added beadwork and more intricate designs. George married in 1995; he and his wife have four children and now live in Cape Town. He has chosen to work independently from home so he can spend more time with his family. In 2010, he was introduced to African Home, a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, and has become one of the key designers of their wire and bead menorahs. His attention to detail and ability to turn out high qiality bead work set him apart as a master beadsmith. Working with a fair trade organization, George, like the other artisans at African Home, is paid a living wage and can afford to send his children to school and feed his family. About AFRICAN HOME: African Home offers a range of traditional African products ranging from home décor to functional home ware as well as gifts and accessories, based on the finest aesthetic and artistic traditional workmanship. The development and marketing of new products creates work for disadvantaged communities with high levels of unemployment. African Home maintains and practices a strong commitment to environmental awareness. Accordingly, all materials used in their products are consistent with and promote the sustainability of the natural resources of South Africa. For example, the wood used is sourced from fallen trees within sustainable forests, driftwood or nonnative trees that have heavy water consumption levels. Many natural and local products, such as reeds, weeds, clay, paper and wire, are used.
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