One Man’s Trash Truly is Another Man’s Treasure

Hello Dear Matsidiso Fam!

 Saving the planet isn’t just for superheroes anymore. Every person (including little old me and you) can do our bit to create a better tomorrow. As a continent we produce incredibly high volumes of waste daily and amidst the growing urgency for a green recovery, for Africa - sustainable development is more important than ever.

The slogan ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ has held our attention for years, but for many artists, across the African continent it has been an integral part of their practice - to highlight the urgency to stop trashing the earth.  
And it’s here where the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ truly lives up to its potential…
This week, we look at 4 African Artists (let’s call them ‘Eco-Warriors’, shall we) who are doing incredible things with recycled materials.

4 African Artists Using Recyclable Materials in Their Work and Why We Love Them


1.Lara Klawikoski – South African Fashion Designer

South African designer, Lara Klawikoski places sustainability at the center of her design approach by creating original pieces designed in a conscious and mindful way. She is known for her whimsy creations dubbed ‘wearable art’ made from recycled, up cycled and re fabricated materials. In 2020, Lara’s bridal collection ‘Strange Flowers’ earned her the innovative Design and Materials Award at the Twyg x Country Road Sustainable Fashion Awards.

    1. Kevin Kimwele – Kenyan Born Architect


Kevin Kimwele, better known as ‘The architect that builds with trash’, is a social entrepreneur that constructs buildings from recycled materials and old car parts collected from informal recyclers and local businesses. Born and raised in Kenya, Kevin relocated to South Africa in 2004 to study architecture at the Nelson Mandela University. It is here where he developed a passion to use his talents to add value.
In an interview with The Guardian, Kimwelle said: ‘When your drive through Africa, you see that people here make do with what they have. There is ingenuity there.’
One of his most renowned projects by date is the Silindokuhle crèche in Joe Slovo Township, a structure designed and made entirely from recycled materials. In 2017, the project was nominated for the Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. Today, he continues to change the face of township architecture, leading the way in building the green way!

Artist Instagram link:

Design Indaba link:


  1. Ashley Heather – South African Jewellery Designer

What comes to mind when you think of jewellery? Probably not ‘made from waste’, right? For South African jewellery designer, Ashley Heather, making something beautiful while saving the world is her duty to the earth.
Ashley runs an independent jewellery studio specializing in beautiful artisanal pieces created from e-waste (reclaimed from computer circuit boards, awesome right!?). A quick browse on their website gives you a glimpse into simple, timeless jewellery designed to stand the test of time.


Artist Instagram link:



  1. Kenyan Born Contemporary Artist



Born in Kenya, Cyrus Kabiru is contemporary artist pushing the boundaries of conventional sculpture, art, design and photography. He is popular for his outstanding spectacles famously known as C- stunners; made from recycled electronic waste and objects he finds in the streets of his hometown, Nairobi.
In an interview with Nataal, Cyrus told the online publication: ‘My glasses are known a bit now.’ We’d say that’s about right, Cyrus!
For the self-taught painter and sculptor, the C-stunners hold symbolic value, as they reflect the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the people in his home country. The lenses are there to provide a fresh perspective and transforming attitude to the youth in Nairobi.


Artist instagram link:


In honour of these 4 African Artists, recycling the way forward, we challenge you to turn your waste into something useful. Perhaps a self-watering planter made from recycled wine bottles… no? Or an art piece created from soda cans? All we know, is that It’s time to get innovative and creative!




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