The decision is always tough for an artist to choose to pursue their passion and art and do something against the grain especially when it requires one to leave the safety of a normal job. Bonolo Boikanyo was not always a leathersmith, she had a stint in the corporate world but she felt unfufilled.

The calling towards leather was one that she could not resist and after a few months of saving she took the plunge and created Kave Art – a decision she has not looked back from. Considered the most meticulous student her lecturer has ever taught, Bonolo stood out from the very rst week that she embarked on her journey with leather as a true talent, and it is this attention to detail that has seen her become a leather- smith worthy of the name.

Her love for leather stems from its durability and timelessness, and the level of artistic freedom that comes with it. Her very rst creation was an oxblood belt with yellow stitching that she still wears to this day, ”very out there” as she puts it and a sign of the kind of uninhibited creativity that she puts in to her designs and creations. Her business is named Kave Art and it is through this platform that she creates various forms of leather goods from accessories to clothing, including wallets, bags and leather wear. Her main goal is to be able to create a brand that is recognised for class and craftsmanship and in the future she plans to expand her base to other territories and export to other countries.

It goes without saying that leatherwork is traditionally a male dominated practice. This is seen through the origin of tanning where the men would have to slaughter and skin the animal themselves and fashion leather goods from the animal skin. However, Bonolo has forged her own identity in an unconventional trade for a woman and it seems that it has become important for us to rethink how specied gender roles have come to affect the way in which we think of what each gender is supposed to do.

Women are most disenfranchised by this notion and the biggest struggle that women face with regards to their place in society is still being considered by the collective societal mind to be weaker, less intelligent, and in- capable of certain tasks and functions. Now, it is important to add here the disclaimer that this notion is a macro-generalisation of the fact, and it goes without saying that there are huge numbers of women who have shown themselves far superior and have superseded men in their contributions to society.

This in affect is to say that to adopt an understand- ing that considers one gender to be stronger or better than the other is completely naïve, and because of this realisation it is important for us to be constantly re-evaluating the way in which we consider and relate to the wom- en not only of Africa but of the entire world. Bonolo’s chosen career may be unconventional to the untrained eye but it is her ability to have rede ned the status quo that makes her a true maverick.