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Tshwane University of Technology

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Calvin Baytopp (22) showcases a necklace that he and a
fellow student’s initiative, called Basadi Beads,
manufactures from recycled glass and other materials.

Women from rural South Africa are now able to empower themselves economically, express their identities and contribute to the Southern African arts landscape with striking beadwork designs and products through Basadi Beads. The project is the brainchild of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) third-year 3D-Design (Industrial Design) students, Calvin Baytopp (22), and Neo Moetsi (30). 

Basadi Beads is a development initiative that trains and mentors women from rural and desolate communities. The core of this initiative lies in creating jewellery from recyclable glass and beads. Basadi Beads also teaches the women basic business skills. The goal of the organisation is to provide a platform for the ladies to show off their beautiful creations and to create sustainable income opportunities out of this.

Michael Wythe, Business Management Lecturer at Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, says that it is initiatives like this that give him a reason to wake up in the morning. “The students never disappoint. We nurture skills like innovation, problem-solving and creativity in this course and that’s what inspires students that develop projects like this.”

“I love helping others. What we do is extraordinarily fulfilling. It gives me pride and joy, seeing people go further because of my contribution. It makes me incredibly happy. What we want to see is a rural revolution. Providing opportunities for women in rural areas means that they don’t have to struggle and have better livelihoods. Their future becomes bright,” says Baytopp.

“Creating better outcomes for people who never had that opportunity before is wonderful. Now families in rural communities will be taken care of. Even women from rural areas can make a success of themselves and I’m glad to be facilitating that inspirational process,” said Moetsi.

Basadi Beads had its first major project in Giyani, Limpopo, earlier this year and plans to empower even more women in disenfranchised communities. Other plans for the organisations future include working with government to provide workshops for skills transfer, micro-business development and basic beading training.

As part of Basadi Beads’ marketing, the team is trying to introduce the beadwork and jewellery to local celebrities to promote, hoping that this will attract international attention.

Check out Basadi Beads online:


For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel: 012 382 5352 or send an email to