American actress Viola Davis, songbird Mpho Sebina and South African actress Nelisiwe Mwase have sampled pieces from a collection that pays homage to Botswana’s rich ancestry and cultural heritage. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports
The creation of a fine piece of jewellery requires an understanding of materials and form, composition, a command of aesthetics, design application, workmanship and originality. All these ingredients together make something as exceptional as the work of art that can be seen in the latest collection called “An ode to the Originals” by local accessory manufacturing company, House of Divinity.
Based on original rock art from Tsodilo Hills, it is a tribute to this sacred place that is a United Nations World Heritage site and the indigenous people of the land. “It is a celebration of the rich ancestral and cultural heritage of our people and indeed of all humanity,” says semi-precious jewellery designer and manufacturer, Boitshoko Kebakile of House of Divinity. “I look forward to developing this range into superb jewellery.”
“The collection debuted at the 2019 De Beers Gala Night and I thank the famed titan of the diamond industry for that opportunity to get feedback from the strategically diverse and global audience that they hosted on the night.”
Jewellery is usually a body adornment and is an expression and symbol or sentiment of status and Kebakile gave herself permission to go wild creatively to put out different designs. This gave her the opportunity to experiment with the new medium of metals and gems. She experimented with organically-shaped stones, setting them into rings and large cuffs. A collection called “Woven” that features silver wires woven and soldered in a pattern that is an ode to the refined basket-weaving prowess of Batswana as a nation was then born. Another collection, “Makgabana,” which features different crystals combined in one piece with cubic Zirconia randomly inserted among the crystals, thus giving a scintillating shimmer across the piece akin to the star, followed.
“The truth is that jewellery chose me,” Kebakile says. “I surrendered to this calling because it sets my soul alight. I am passionate about manufacturing and its potential to be a catalyst of economic growth through addition of value to indigenous raw materials. I aimed to contribute to my country’s manufacturing sector, and the flare I have for making and designing jewelry was a natural entry point into the sector.”
Last week was particularly special for House of Divinity as songbird Mpho Sebina was decked out in the company’s jewellery for her latest sublime music video called “ Dumelang.” In it Sebina wears a special piece named “Sun Crown” that is made of brass in endless rows of cascading beads set in 67 cubic Zirconia and a centre stone of tiger eye. In the same week, South African actress and filmmaker, Nelisiwe Mwase, was wearing a cuff bracelet from the “Ode to the Originals” while American actress Viola Davis and her family posted an image online fitted out in one of their earliest design of peacock print fabric earrings, the African Trade bead neck piece, an agate cuff bracelet and a neck piece from their latest collection.
“The response from the continental audience has been positive,” Kebakile notes. “And as we begin to steadily roll out our international export strategy, we are getting encouraging feedback. We look forward to translating this positive feedback into consistent sales that can sustain the business as we prepare to enter our third year of growth where we will adopt an even more aggressive marketing strategy. We have the capacity and are ready and more eager than ever to share our story and work with the world.”
As a self-employed individual, it has been critical for Kebakile to outsource to partner and collaborate with strategic individuals and service providers within Botswana’s creative economy. This has given her the opportunity to foster business relationships with creatives who have been key to sharing the story of House of Divinity. Chris Kebakile and Thabiso Mmopele are the content creators, Kgethang Mmamabolo is the social media consultant and online store manager, Mpho Sebina is the brand ambassador while Polite Bondera is the jewellery manufacturing consultant and expert stone setter.