Sphiwe Jele played with ice cream sticks one evening at his home in Philippi – a township in Cape Town – and was surprised at the interesting pattern they formed. “I thought: ‘Oh, I can make a bag'”. That night he couldn’t sleep from excitement.
The next morning, Jele started gathering ice cream sticks at bus terminuses and taxi ranks from Sea Point to Mitchell’s Plain. Soon, children ran to him with their ice cream sticks or collected them and placed them next to his gate. Cafes stored them for him in bags.
“You need to go crazy for what you love,” he said.
Backpacks made from ice cream sticks marked the start of his wooden bag business in 2014. He named it Panashe Design – panashe means the presence of greatness. His kiosk attracts many tourists, but locals too. Each bag is a novelty with a unique handmade design, selling for between R1,000 ($75) and R5,000 ($380).