Coast KZN

09 Apr 2021

Sand is Baggie’s Beach sculpturer’s gold

Bianca Lalbahadur (South Coast Sun) Picture: Bonga Sithole.

The crisp salty air and the fine golden sand of Baggie’s Beach is Bonga Sithole’s workspace where he creates breathtakingly beautiful sculptures.  Natural talent and an abundance of beach sand are the only tools that the Isipingo resident requires.  He has been practising his art since 2008 and has worked hard to nurture his skills.

He started sculpting in Durban and a year later moved his talents to Warner Beach. He has also previously worked in Winklespruit Beach. He then took a break when he found other work and started again in 2016.

“Sculpting is in my veins and it’s a lifestyle that I enjoy. I was an assistant to Sanele Magcaba, who recently passed away. He was doing sand sculptures in Durban since 2006. He was very well known in the area and was featured in newspapers for his work. He taught me how to work with the sand, at the time I was tasked to fixing sculptures that broke with the wind. He inspired me to take up this art and made me realise this is what people enjoy seeing at the beach.”

An incredible amount of detail and passion is poured into every piece of art that he creates.

“It depends on what a client wants me to do. I form a lump of sand and fetch water from the sea. Saltwater helps the sand stick together and makes it easier to shape. It depends on the size and design, there’s no set amount of time to create the pieces. Each sculpture is unique.  Every sculpture has to be sprinkled with salt water to prevent them from breaking if you use regular water on them, they will break. As long as I take care of the sculpture they will last. My favourite sculpture to make is the crocodile.”

Despite being extraordinarily gifted, Bonga still finds it difficult to make ends meet. He travels every day to and from his home and on certain days he just makes enough money to pay for his transport fees.

“No day is the same. Some days I just make enough money for my transport and my food for the day. I plan on being on the beach for a while but I also want to find an assistant who can do sculptures at another beach. Although I will pay the person, this will help me make a little extra money. I ask residents to support me because this art is my bread and butter.”