Nov 2019 1st Edition

South Africans learn jewellery design from China’s best

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

A partnership between the Chinese and South African governments is set to produce new artisans in the jewellery sector.Ten South Africans form a group of Africans who went on a 50 day jewellery making training course in China.

Ten South Africans are on a 50-day jewellery making course in China where they are learning to create different types of silver jewellery including bracelets, earrings and neck pieces.

Fashion designer, Simo Matomela (31) who is originally from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, said the skills and knowledge he has gained will help him grow his fashion design business.

“The skills I am gaining from attending this course will enable me to make my own jewellery as accessories to the clothes I design for my clients. Jewellery on its own has a big market,” Matomela said.

He learnt about the programme through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) list of state-supported seminars in China.

“I received a list of seminars to China and I picked the one that would add to my profile,” he said.

He is currently receiving jewellery design skills at Hunan International Business Vocational College in China.

The training is sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

“I picked artisan skills training because those are the most needed in South Africa. As designers we still need skilled artisans to craft our ideas,” he said.

As part of the training, the group also visited factories where jewellery is made using the latest technological advances.

This was Matomela’s second government-supported trip.

In 2017 he participated in a training course that opened his eyes to the latest advances in fashion design.

“That first trip showed me a world that I could not even imagine,” he said.

Matomela said he is looking to expand his business after his interaction with his Asian counterparts, who showed him there is a market for his Africa-inspired design.

“Currently, I work with a partner and we have employed two people. We want to expand and open a factory and hire more people,” Matomela said.

Did you know?

The dti has several programmes that will send entrepreneurs to China to exhibit their products.

For more information, call Teaman Nghunyule from dti at 012 394 5726.

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