From making clay bulls and cows as a young boy while heading cattle in the old Transkei, today entrepreneur Chuma Maweni is one of the most prominent hand-thrown ceramic artist in the country, with his works exhibited at top art galleries.
Maweni, who is now based in Cape Town, fell in love with working with clay as a youngster, but it was not after completing matric in Port Elizabeth when his brother Mkhululi reminded him he could make a career out of his artistry with clay.
It was also not before his father took him back to the land of his forefathers at KwaPayne village, in Mthatha, to focus on his schooling because of the upheavals of the 1980s school boycott that his passion was ignited.
“I regard myself as a ceramic designer and artist. I was employed for more than 10 years by a company here in Cape Town that specialises in clay pottery and ceramic art works.”
“While employed I registered my entity CM Maweni Ceramics as a sole proprietor in 2014 and became self-employed two years later.
“Basically, I work with functional ware, decorative products, ceramic vessels and sculptures. Everything I make is design-oriented,” explains the 42-year-old.
Maweni’s distinctive approach combines contemporary hand-coiled shapes marked with precisely patterned incisions. He makes exquisitely crafted ceramic vessels and furniture, the latter finding their largest form to date in his sought-after Imbizo (gathering) series of tables, side-tables and chairs.