Rebecca Chiloane was just back from harvesting the materials she uses to make jewellery and home décor items when we arrived at her home in Acornhoek. She happily opened the storeroom to show us the beautiful beadwork that she’s famous for. Rebecca used to be a gold and silversmith, but finds that working with beads and natural materials like seed pods involves much less risk and just as much creativity. She works from home now, making necklaces made from monkey orange seeds, which she dyes in a range of vibrant hues. She also makes elaborate chokers, bangles and earrings from plastic beads and mats from sedge and recycled sweet wrappings.
Rebecca sells most of her wares to people from her neighbourhood, occasionally venturing to the near-by town of Hoedspruit. She’s excited with the potential to grow her market now though, thanks to a new arts and crafts route in Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge that introduces visitors to the area to artists and entrepreneurs. The web-based guide (www.everytrail.com/guide/art-and-craft-guide-mpumalanga-lowveld-south-af...) gives names, contact information and GSP waypoints for each stop on the route. You can set your GPS or map software (e.g. Google Maps or Bing Maps) or download the app, making it easier than ever to find your way around this area on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, where road names and signs are few and far between.
- Dianne Tipping-Woods