Mams artist answers his calling

Bra Freddy Mashele says art takes him to a higher level of consciousness. Photo Stephen Selaluke.

Freddy Mashele (48) of Mamelodi East, extension 5 is a born artist.

Bra Freddy, as he is affectionately known in his neighbourhood, started doing art at an early age, a skill he picked up from his uncle and grandfather who were both sculptors.

But due to family circumstances, Bra Freddy had to find “a proper job and get married” to take care of his family.

But 10 years ago fate reunited him and his calling.

“I was retrenched and had to find another way to care for my family,” he said.

“I went back to my calling… what my uncle and grandfather had taught me from an early age.”

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With a dose of part creativity and part necessity, Bra Freddy made a small tweak to come up with something he thought different enough to give him an edge.

“I started collecting used matchsticks like a madman.

“Using glue, I started creating beautiful things such boats, picture frames and so on.”

Though Bra Freddy said this had not been an easy path, he was now making a living making art.

“I am able to feed my family and I now want to open a centre so I can pass on my talent to the youth of Mamelodi.”

He said though it was hard work “sometimes taking up to three months to complete a piece”, he could not see himself doing anything else but art.

“I really love expressing myself and my talent through art. It is a passion I live for.

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“When I am in that moment, all my problems disappear and I am able to understand God, and creation…if I love what I do so much imagine His love.

“Art takes me to a higher level of consciousness.”

Bra Freddy works from his home in extension 5.

“I want to have an exhibition to show the youth what I do and hopefully get some of them interested but I don’t know who could sponsor it because hiring a venue is expensive.

“I have to find a way to pass my skills to others and hopefully one day go around various schools teaching learners artwork.”

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Do you have more information about the story? Please send us an email to or phone us on 083 625 4114.

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Stephen Selaluke
Mamelodi journalist

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