This radio is made entirely from beer bottle caps, a locally brewed beer can, scrap metal, wire and a resurrected radio antenna. It works perfectly and it looks great. This is just one of the many recycled items I picked up from a trip to South Africa.
South African recycled arts and crafts are usually hand-made by people living in townships who earn their living from selling them. Each piece is unique. So when you buy these items you can be sure you're supporting a local artist, helping the environment, and bringing some color into your own home. Personally I think these souvenirs beat a sculpture of an elephant any day.
Recycled arts and crafts can be found throughout Africa. I grew up playing with these wonderful wire cars (galimotos) that functioned perfectly and were built by ingenious Malawian children. They inspired me to try my own hand on a recycled map of Africa made from cans.
You do have to look a little harder to find these recycled gems when you shop in markets, but it's worth it. I also like the fact that the motorbike I bought for my son was made from the can of my favorite soft-drink while I was on vacation. So it's art, a toy, and a souvenir all wrapped in one.
I'm off to build a robot out of shampoo bottles....
Image © Anouk Zijlma