Sunday 10 February 2013

Business, African style

Gibson Rugwinya happened to be cycling down the road as I was getting out of my car at my friend's house one early evening. We smiled and greeted one another. This is not a country where strangers politely ignore one another, so I was only mildly surprised when Gibson, a total stranger to me, jumped off his bike to give me a great bear-hug.

He was interested in the camera over my shoulder, and in what kinds of pictures I like to take. We exchanged some life history and I learned that he was not local but from Namibia. Then he told me he was an artist and had a certain gift. 

Because I have a love affair with the kind of artistic creativity that flourishes here, usually involving recycled materials, I expressed an interest, and Gibson opened a battered box tied to the back of his bicycle.

(At this point I was really hoping I would like what I was about to see, because it was going to be awfully hard to turn down someone of Gibson's charm).

I loved what I saw. Working from discarded sheet metal, Gibson creates busy, active people, from hunters to athletes to musicians. 

I loved this quartet, but  there was a problem. I didn't have cash on me to pay for them.
No problem! said Gibson. Take them, and I will write down the number of my savings account.
So you're going to give me these sculptures and trust that I will pay you?
Gibson looked affronted. Of course I trust you! We're friends now!


  1. Love his work...I am especially fond of up cycling. It is fascinating to meet people at random.

  2. i love that story.....renews your faith doesn't it? just had a wonderful catchup on your blog, amazing pictures and great info too....just last week some friends were amazed we had no yearning to visit south africa...your pictures have convinced me otherwise!

  3. FABULOUS! Love it!

    Happy musical Sunday, my Dear,

  4. This is what life should be. Everywhere. God bless that man, and God bless you, Karen.
    And, I too, love the pieces. So if both Francine and I love them they must be wonderful.

  5. I love the collection bought...even better with the story behind it!

  6. Karen, what a joyful creative spirit lives within Mr Rugwinya! I can easily see why you would want to be able to continue to look at the little quartet. Perhaps the drummer is my favorite because I always like to look at drummers, but I like each of the characters very much.


  7. I have met people this open and trusting in Holland. At one point I think most of us were this way, before reality stepped in w/ a few hard knocks. Wonderful story about meeting this talented creator!

  8. Such joyful sculptures!
    Heart warming story

  9. It's like a fairy tale in real life!
    And the figures are enchanting too ---

  10. Gibson just dropped by my house for the second year in a row. 5 years on and his charm and artistic creativity continue to bring light into every encounter. This is a very special man!


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