Meet The A Team
Jez Prettejohn - Managing Director
After 15 years of glass trophy manufacturing and corporate gifting in Johannesburg, I relocated to the small trout fishing village of Dullstroom and established African Pewter in 2008. I saw a need in the Southern African market for high quality and bespoke pewter homeware and décor items. We initially positioned ourselves as a wholesale manufacturer. In 2017 we relocated the business to Ngwenya Glass in Eswatini and became the sole supplier of pewter for their glass range. We started designing our own range of goods based on the demands and needs of the tourist trade frequenting the Ngwenya Glass Complex.
The final product is only as good as the original artwork and over the years we have developed relationships with various different sculptors such as Kobus Hattingh from Mooi Nooi, Arend Eloff from Pretoria, Edmondo Nhancale from Johannesburg and Fela Dlamini in Eswatini and we can now call upon them for your specific needs. We have nurtured close ties with a network of small businesses with various skills and equipment and collaborate with these people to ensure you will receive the best quality product.
At Ngwenya Glass we have a laser cutter, CNC machine, water-jet cutter, sandblaster and a 3D printer that can cut, engrave and produce originals in any type of material from resins, wood, glass, bronze, brass, aluminium, and Perspex. With our team of multi-talented artists, sculptors, glass blowers and trained artisans you can rest assured that your product will be given the best possible attention from its inception in your office or home, to its creation in our workshop and finally to its delivery to you wherever in the world you may be.
“You Dream It…You and I Design It…I Create It”
What inspired me to design and manufacture mini pewter sculptures?
In 2001 I rescued a pangolin from the clutches of a witchdoctor. The poor creature hadn’t eaten for 4 days and was given the minimum amount of water to keep it alive. It was stuffed in a fertilizer bag and travelled in the back of a taxi from Zambia to Johannesburg. It stank like rotten meat as it had been caught in a snare and had lost its front right claw.
A friend, who worked at the Joburg Zoo, nursed "Peta the Pangolin" back to good health by taking her for daily walks in the Melville Koppies. When she had fully recovered she was fitted with a tracking collar and released into the wild in Kruger National Park. They followed her for nearly a year before she disappeared. I have never seen another pangolin but have been an avid follower of them ever since. My interest has extended to other species whose lives are threatened by our greed and lack of consideration for animals and their habitats that we destroy on a daily basis.
I find the theory of “keystone” species particularly interesting where the removal of one species in a healthy balanced ecosystem can lead to that environment’s collapse. This interest is reflected in the small pewter animal sculptures that we make and that we are adding to on a monthly basis to create an awareness of the plight of various animals we share this planet with.
Sandi Amiradaki - Co Founder - Chief Imagination Officer
Sandi is the glue that holds us all together, her empathy, compassion and vast experience in dealing with people ensure we are physically and mentally prepared for any of the challenges our clients and our business bring to us. When someone is struggling or down, Sandi will make sure you get lifted and see the sun shining again.
Being a total animal and nature lover, she is extremely passionate about the preservation of our wildlife, hence her involvement in the collaboration with different organizations, finding ways for African Pewter to play a role in the preservation of our earthly home and it's inhabitants.
We currently support Blankets for Baby Rhinos and The African Pangolin Group and we are communicating with Two Oceans Aquarium as they are very active in the rehabilitation and release of sea turtles.
Her eye for detail and refusal to accept any standard short of perfection, ensures that every item that leaves our studio is of the highest possible standard and quality.
Sandi is intricately involved in product development and new designs that we create and makes sure our blog and online shop remains lively and interesting. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty when we need an extra pair to get orders out ahead of schedule. Her creative inspiration often turn a beautiful bespoke order into an exceptional product that have many a customer coming back for more.
Sandi is always drumming into us “ don’t be the same as everyone else, make sure we ACTUALLY go the extra mile, give the client an exceptional experience....under promise and over deliver.
Santos Makanya - Pewter Production Manager
The singing you hear when you enter our workshop will be an indication that Santos is in a good mood and a ‘Happy Place”at African Pewter. His melodious voice is often heard throughout the day and keeps us forging through tight deadlines and many a production challenge.
Santos’s hero is Mr Vilakati his lecturer at SCOT, Swaziland College of Technology, where he trained to be a metal fabricator and craftsman. He has brought his skills to African Pewter where he is the pewter caster in charge of producing the lovely items you see in our shop, and gift shops across Africa.
Santos is very active in his church choir and shares his amazing voice at choral gatherings. He also loves to play soccer in his spare time.
His ambition is to add silver and goldsmithing, and mould making to his repertoire and teach his skills to other Swazis. He is very proud to be in the unique position of being the only pewter caster in the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Two items on his bucket list are to take his family on vacation to England and he wants to travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Vukani Maduna - Production Assistant
Vukani is seen but almost never heard. He is the serious, silent type that is eager to learn more and always on the look out for what he can do next. He assists in the production and is diligently working to become a master fettler.
He has five siblings and as the sole breadwinner in his family, he has great aspirations for the future. Vukani would like to start a business some day to assist in his siblings future and would like to build a better house for his family.
When asked what he would like to do for Eswatini, he answered without hesitation that he would like to assist orphanages in receiving better education.
His ambition is to get involved in learning how to make molds at African Pewter as well as learning more about product design.
His hero is the great football player Lionel Messi as Vukani himself plays soccer on week ends and on public holidays.
Fela Dlamini - Sculptor
He realized that he could use his talent and passion to develop a skill and practiced sculpting animals and African figures, (in his words) "just to keep busy" .
He later moved to Ezulwini, Eswatini where he got involved in The Yebo Art Gallery and took part in local exhibitions as well as exhibiting in South Africa. He works with as many different mediums as he can to bring life to his art and his dream. Fela's work could also later be seen in an exhibition in Finland.
After walking a road with African Pewter for some time, we asked Fela to become part of our team as his work is so amazing, he will get the exposure he deserves, and we feel privileged to capture his work in pewter.
Here is to an amazing journey together.