By Khaya Ndaba
“Maybe it’s due to my stubbornness, but I could not refuse the call of God when he told me to become a jewellery maker.”
Themba Mantshiya, 35, founder of TMDS Africa Jewellery, is a Christian who believes life’s special moments need to be celebrated with timeless gifts of jewellery.
“They are a personal monument to your memories that you can pass onto the next generation of wearers,” said Mantshiya.
He told Scrolla.Africa that in 2011 he had to make a choice; either become a mechanical engineer or a jewellery maker, and he decided on the latter.
Born in Northam, Limpopo to a family deeply rooted in Christianity, Mantshiya’s kin were not too keen on letting him chase his dream of being a jewellery designer.
“People are chosen to do certain things in life. I’m a preacher, preaching the word of God through jewellery,” said Mantshiya.
He studied at the Rustenburg Orbit TVET College in 2010 and in 2012 he studied at the University of Johannesburg. In 2015 he received a scholarship to travel to Italy for a course in jewellery manufacturing.
“I had the opportunity to either work in Amsterdam or Italy, but I felt there was more work to grow the jewellery market on the African continent,” he said.
His style of jewellery is comparable to pieces manufactured by Hershey’s, Galaxy Co or Sterns. They are handmade and cater to people who want stylish pieces that resonate with their individual taste and occasion for celebration.
“This is all about celebrating life’s special moments. It is a way for me to share love with the world around me,” he said. He has made significant strides with his business, setting up a retail store in Joburg’s Newtown Junction.
His brand gives back by hosting Wearable Art Workshops on designing accessories made with recyclable materials.
“Teaching the youth how to turn something useless into something precious is the reason why we decided to start the TMDS Africa Foundation, which fully focuses on projects benefiting the youth.”
He wants to model his business in a way similar to Hermes, which is a luxury producer famed for its jewellery, make-up products, women’s shoes and the Birkin Bag.
“Hermes is a very diverse brand. I love their business model and that’s exactly where I want to take my brand.”
He has recently collaborated with other jewellery makers at his store, to showcase, sell, and expose their work to the retail market. He plans to open more stores on the continent in the near future and expand his philanthropic work to other communities in South Africa.
Pictured above: Themba Mantshiya
Image source: Supplied