Radipudi whose cleaning job at Mabogo CJSS in Palapye involved picking old newspapers from the school corridors says when the global recession reached her doorstep she decided to be creative for survival.
The 40-year-old mother of three says she took up paper mash art at a friend’s suggestion when she realized she needed to supplement her salary which could no longer sustain her and her family.
“Had it not been for the recession I would not have discovered my artistic talent”, she says with a giggle and continues, “I was thinking of what to do when a friend who has been making decorative pieces from waste paper dared me to try it. She gave me a few lessons and I am happy I took her advice,” said Radipudi who makes amongst other things flower pots, ash trays and remote control holders from paper mash.
“I pick newspapers, beg for some from those that have no further use of papers when they have read them and buy when if necessary. I use seeds from domesticated and wild plants for decorating the pieces I make. The only things I buy are oxides for colouring and paper glue”, said Radipudi who believes she is making her contribution to saving the environment as her business involves reducing waste and using trees in the wild without cutting them down.
The paper mash bug has bitten so hard that she is teaching the art to her youngest daughter who is in standard five.
“With the government employment freeze and the lack of jobs in the private sector it is a skill she can use to survive in future”, Radipudi told Your Money.
“I am saving as much as I can because I want to have a place to run the business and employ others to help me. I am so happy with what I am doing that everyday I make it bigger. I also enjoy the artistic side of the business because creativity soothes my soul and makes life less stressful. I would like to improve that side of things as well”, Radipudi, who presently runs her business from home said when quizzed on what plans she has for her venture.