SECUNDA – Mr Mbongi Malinga (31) is an artist who uses gold and gemstones as his paintbrush, the human body as his canvas and his clients as his muse and inspiration.
He aims at capturing the beauty of each of his muses by creating the perfect jewellery piece for each individual.
This new goldsmith at MJ Jewellers is inspired by every individual client who comes to him for an original piece of jewellery.
“I listen to what the client has in mind, but I also study their features, posture and presentation in order to design something unique to that specific person,” explained Mr Malinga.
He believes each piece of jewellery must be striking, yet complementing to the person wearing it.
This father of two is an artist at heart who has always been a creative being. He grew up in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, as the oldest son of a policeman and a mother who is an entrepreneur in the business world.
After completing matric at a technical school, Mr Malinga attended the art and design school in Vanderbijlpark and then specialised in goldsmith at the Durban University of Technology.
Mr Malinga then proceeded to apply his knowledge on a practical scale as intern jeweller at Pneuma Jewellers in Johannesburg where he learned the finer art of creating handcrafted custom jewellery.
“My favourite medium to work with is nine carat gold, because it is pliable but not too soft. I also love working with gemstones.
“The small detail on jewellery fascinates me. I am a person who has always needed to work with my hands, and as a goldsmith, I get to be creative, use my hands and can still apply the rules of design.”
He has worked with numerous mediums with which he created jewellery pieces – from platinum to leather, bone, wood and stone.
“I was even asked to work with rhino horn, but I refused to do that.”
The fine craftsmanship demanded by a jeweller does not scare him. The challenge for him is in the detail of a jewellery piece.
He said the weirdest creation he had to make, was for an Indian man who wanted a pendant in the shape of a coffin in which the client planned to place his father’s ashes. The wooden pendant was to be crafted in a way that it could be opened like a chest.
Many types of gems have passed through Mr Malinga’s hands, and he loves them all. According to him all gem stones have their own unique allure and beauty to it.
When he is not working at the jewellery shop, Mr Malinga spends his time painting and sculpting and also doing all types of handiwork, such as welding fences and repairing things around the house.