Potty about pottery, 35-year-old Emmanuel Senamolelo has been making it with clay since 2003.
The self-taught, award-winning potter has managed to mould a successful living for himself, making his mark with his unique and creative designs.
Having initially taken up pottery as a hobby, Senamolelo realised there was money to be made from his talents.
It was this realisation that caused him to start his own pottery business – and thus Art Discovery and Ceramics was born.
Based in Kopong village, the enterprise offers a range of artistic ceramic products – all handmade by Senamolelo – including teacups, coffee mugs and large flower vases.
In an effort to discover a bit more about the venture and its founder, Voice Money made the short journey to Kopong on Saturday.
We arrive to find Senamolelo in the middle of a pottery tutorial – lessons he frequently offers to aspiring potters at the weekends.
Immersed in his work, Senamolelo is surrounded by admiring onlookers as he brings his latest creation to life.
Smiling frequently as he effortlessly wedges clay, the potter explains it was thanks to the Government’s support that he was able to start his enterprise.
“The business became fully operational in 2015, after being funded by the Youth Ministry,” he says, adding that he acquired some of his experience in the United Kingdom.
Arts Discovery and Ceramics is now a family business, as Senamolelo reveals, “Being a potter is difficult as many often perceive it as dirty work. I have trained my wife and we do the business together”
The expert craftsman uses the potter’s wheel and ethanol clay to make his products – a setup that is proving extremely fruitful.
“I have won Thapong Artiste of the year in 2016, under ceramics category,” he reveals, proudly pausing for a second to reflect on his achievement.
When questioned on how he stands out from his competition in what is an oversubscribed, extremely competitive market, the creative entrepreneur says he adds zips and buttons to the traditional products to make them look more appealing.
When questioned on the future, Senamolelo says he has dreams of getting a new plot for his business.
“Pottery is a source of employment, for now I train other youths but I have not yet hired any as the business is still growing.”
As the interview draws to a conclusion, Senamolelo ends by advising would-be entrepreneurs to thoroughly research the business they intend to get involved in before they start.
“A good business is driven by passion, the pottery business requires patience as moulding way too many products will not vastly translate into profit,” he surmises with a weary smile.