Monday, June 21, 2021

The blacksmith who keeps family tradition alive

A 36-year-old blacksmith, Kebiditsemang Thabiso, continues to create objects from wrought iron by forging metals into hoes and axes.

It is a technique that has been passed down to the generations of the Wayeyi clan who practiced it for the past decades.

Thabiso took the baton from Thabiso Ntwa, the Wayeyi Chief in Mmadikola, who became a force to reckon with in creating objects that were popularly used by men and women.

“I learnt from my father who also told me that he learnt it from his grandfathers as well. It looks like they kept on passing the baton every time before they died,” said Thabiso. Nothing has changed for decades in the blacksmith industry.

His workshop is a shady spot under an acacia tree. Bellows, made from cow hide (Mouba), provide oxygen to keep the charcoal fire hot and it is this fire which is used to smelt the metal.

The sound of a hammer can be heard from a distance when Thabiso is busy in his workshop.

Once a hammer lands on a short piece of a broken rail the blacksmith knows very well that he will soon mend a metal into any object that he want to do.

This is where he makes different instruments when residents make orders. Almost everyone in the family knows how to pump up ‘Mouba’, but it is not everyone who can mend metals into objects such as hoe ,spear or an axe.

“We used to collect metals that were usually scattered around here but currently it is very difficult to find such metals that can be used for making objects. It is not every metal that we can use to make some of these objects.”

Thabo further explained that many people had thought that the demise of his father meant that no one else would ever fill his shoes.

Thabo sells his products mostly to women in the area. He is of the firm belief that his family will carry on the tradition for many generations to come, saying he makes everything that everyone wants.

Thabo said that he continued to explain that the sale of farming equipment, such hoes and axes, usually picks during the farming season. He was worried about the shortage of scrap metals that he uses for making these instruments.

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