By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
A Rusape-born University of Zimbabwe graduate has turned to weaving and beads-making as an innovation to beat unemployment.
After completing a Bachelor of Applied Arts in 2017,Blessing Nyamatsanza who now lives in Budiriro told Radio VOP that employment in the formal sector had been elusive and was encouraged to take up a short weaving course by his grandmother, Lucia Nyamhunga, who has been in the weaving industry for some time.
“In 2017 I attained my BA majoring in history, peace-building(war and strategic studies).
“The prospects of being formally employed diminished prompting my grandmother to advise me to take up a 2-week course on weaving but I dropped on the 4th day but my grandma bought materials for me to start making bags and beads,” said the former Dope High school student in Gandanzara.
According to Nyamatsanza, while he has managed to salvage a living from the ‘new-found career’, weaving has immense potential to employ many to sustain livelihoods if given the much need support.
“Since I joined this business ,together with my grandmother we can be able to afford a basic living but I have realised that if we get more markets we can be able to grow our business and even teach other unemployed youths out there how to weave bags and make beads,” revealed.
They sell their products locally and in Mozambique where they say the crafts are a hit.
Nyamatsanza is yearning to expand his business through participating at exhibitions either hosted by local and international organisations .
“I would be delighted to exhibit on various local and international platforms so that I may be able to market the bags and beads to lucrative markets,” beamed the 25-year-old graduate.
The National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe has been on the forefront of facilitating cultural exchange programmes exposing local weavers from as far as Binga, Honde Valley, Lupane and Masvingo to Europeans markets .
The initiative has also been hailed as a way to preserve cultural values and heritage.