It was three metres high and kept Nelson Mandela imprisoned for eighteen years. That’s the basics of what we know about the infamous Robben Island fence. But now a Capetonian jewellery designer is putting a positive spin on it with the launch of the Legacy Collection.
History in the Making
The Robben Island fence has become an historical artefact. Much like the Berlin Wall of which people want a piece to remember, this fence is being taken to new heights so that people can associate it with positive ideals based on the South African struggle towards democracy. No longer restricted to being synonymous with the terror of captivity, efforts are being made to transform the fence into a symbol of freedom.
Gold-Plated Human Rights
One of these efforts is a creative idea by Cape Town designer, Charmaine Taylor. Using small pieces of the rusted barbed wire fence from the Robben Island jail, she produces beautiful silver- and gold-plated jewellery for men and women. You can find items such as cufflinks, necklaces, bangles and earrings in her Legacy Collection. Every piece is unique, with its own character, texture and even name – every name given to a piece of jewellery relates to a South African experience, such as Release, Democracy, Rights and Liberty. Not just beautifully made, these items make a strong statement.
Pay it Forward
As Charmaine Taylor said in an interview with the SABC, she started making framed artwork with pieces of the fence and then thought it would be an even better idea to make jewellery out of them so that people can carry them around wherever they go. It’s a great way to recollect history and allow freedom to mark our steps in the future. You can also do a good deed by simply owning an item from the collection: 10 percent of your purchase goes to assist various causes, which include the Nelson Mandela Foundation; the organic farming non-profit organisation, Abalimi Bezekhaya (which means ‘The Planters’); and Inkululeko (which means ‘Set Free’).
You can purchase the jewellery items from the Legacy Collection website.