Jeweller finds home in art

Kebakile wearing one of her pieces
Kebakile wearing one of her pieces

The famous words of American dancer, choreographer and author, Twyla Tharp that “art is the only way to run away without leaving home” keep ringing when one listens to jeweller Boitshoko Kebakile narrates her life.

If  Kebakile had used her academic qualifications she would probably be working for international organisations such as the United Nations and perhaps end up as a diplomat.

But she chose art and stayed home to design beautiful jewellery and accessories that are so beautiful they could make any modern woman empty her purse to get a piece.

The 28-year old graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with BA double major in international relations and applied economics in 2010.

Instead of going for formal employment, she decided to follow her passion for art and started manufacturing ornaments for a living.

In 2012, following her internship stint at Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Kebakile started House of Divinity, a company that specialises in jewellery and other fashion accessories. The artist in her was ‘woken up’ one day while she walked down the street in Johannesburg where she was studying.

“Because I am not an outgoing person I used to go to this restaurant next to my residence in Johannesburg, just for coffee. 

Then one day I decided to take a short walk down the street and I landed at a bead store. After my visit there I knew I wanted to do beadwork,” she told Arts & Culture.

She would then start making her own earrings and neckpieces, which would instantly grab the attention of fellow students and friends alike.

“They would curiously ask where did you buy this and I knew from the way they were interested that my accessories were top class,” she said proudly.

When she left CEDA to concentrate on her dream many disapproved of her decision, but she was unrelenting because she was positive she had made the right choice.

Although it was only in recent years that her artistic instincts started kicking in, Kebabile has always been an artist. As a primary school pupil in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, a young Kebakile used to cut grass from along the small path home to weave wristbands and other trimmings.

“I would make some for my Mom and it felt good every time I completed a piece,” she said.

After spending five years in Lesotho, Kebakile returned to Botswana where she started doing art at Maselewapula Junior Secondary School.

After trying various forms of art, she realised her mastery in beadwork. She recalled trying a Harry Potter graphic design sketch and a paper marsh sculpture, which she admitted were not impressive.

“I then used beads to make a head gear and a wrist band. Those two were simply captivating,” she said.

All of Kebakile’s pieces are handmade. She uses beads for most of her creations. But some of her products are made of leather, wire, fabric and gemstones.

Although she still considers House of Divinity a micro business, Kebakile is determined to turn it into a big brand.

“I am currently working at home and sell online, but I have faith in what I am doing.  The plan is to make this a big brand.

 I am following on the tradition of world famous brands like Tiffany and Co., which started from home, but boomed into huge businesses.  I actually want to expand into interior décor,” she said.

Apart from marketing her pieces online, the youngster has also started networking with women organisations to help expand her horizons.

In July she will be flying to the United States to attend the African Women Entrepreneur Programme trade forum, which is supported by the US government.

“You can imagine how enriching this will be.

 I believe I will learn a lot because I will be introduced to industry captains and other women from different parts of the world in both art and manufacturing,” she said.

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