On its first door – which is both for entry and exit – the Department of Jewellery at UJ’s APB campus has a magnificent exhibition scenery of jewelleries collected from over the past ten years.
The culture and spirit respired in the Department are artistry: its coordinators, lecturers, current and former students have left indelible marks that identify them as lovers of creativity and manufacturers of beauty.
Every year the Department enters jewellery competitions so that its third-year students can have some experience on how it feels like to design a piece, and finally create it, the envisioned idea finally brought to life.
“Whatever that they have imagined or thought of and had put it on paper, that is the designing process and if I believe it is good enough to go forward, I approve it and they start making it,” said Thato Radebe, a third-years’ coordinator at the Jewellery Dept.
“By looking at the pieces the students have proposed to pursue, I believe three or four could make it to the finalists and win. I am very happy with how things are going with the students,” Radebe said.
The geology lab of the Department, where students are erudite to be able to identify several natural stones, has an enormous wealth of different minerals; all are pure, heavy and original.
One of the lecturers of the third-year students at the Department is Labi Akapo, a founder of Akapo Jewels whose surname when translated means “treasure”.
The Goldsmith has more than 40 years of experience in the manufacturing jewels and is determined to use his expertise to enrich his students.“I am one of those people who when I teach, I teach you to be better than me,” said Akapo.
Photographs courtesy of Magnificent Mndebele