Physical limitations are no hindrance for 61-year-old Everisto Kumwenda as he pursues his passion to upcycle scrap metal from used oil drums donated by Kagem Mining Limited.
Deteriorating health issues landed him in a wheelchair and deaf in one ear, but that hasn’t stopped the young-at-heart Everisto from being enterprising.
The Lufwanyama District man turns the drums into commonly used domestic items such as braziers, pots, rat traps, washing tubs and watering cans.
A self-taught craftsman, Everisto has no formal training. He learnt his skill by observing other craftsmen, honing his skills and applying his newfound knowledge to start up the small home-based business that now supports the family.
“I buy food and other necessities with the money I earn from my craft,” said Everisto.
Braziers are a common item in traditional Zambian homes, used for cooking and heating.
Everisto can make up to five complete braziers of different sizes with a single oil drum.
He sells them for between K30 and K35 – with the remaining bits and pieces used as fillers in the next batch.
Through talking with Everisto, Kagem identified his need for raw materials and donated twenty 210 litres used oil drums in support.
The mine also gave him a much-needed set of new tools to further help him in his craft.
“I am very happy and thankful. I never imagined this could happen. In comparison to my old tools these are far better,” said Mr Kumwenda, flanked by his sister – who looks after him – and an excited mix of grandchildren, nieces and nephews and in-laws.
Kagem Sustainability Manager Joseph Chilambwe handed over the new toolkit to Mr Kumwenda in a visit to his workshop – the yard in front of his house.
“At Kagem, our goal is to create long-term positive impact in surrounding communities, Everisto is both an inspiration and encouragement that it is possible to create sustainable livelihoods in our local communities,” said Mr Chilambwe.