Monkeybiz started back in 1999, by South African artists and art collectors Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz. They showed a small beaded doll to student, Mathapelo Ngaka, who then took it to her mother, Makatiso, a skilled bead artist with the brief “can you do a doll that looks unique?” and Monkeybiz was born. Monkeybiz revived this tradition of fine bead work with it’s fresh, modern aesthetic.
Beaders, who have no transportation, work from home where they can look after their children while beading. Beads and materials are delivered to them. The artists take great pride in their one of a kind beaded works. The impact from beading for some families has been tremendous, providing a basic income to many families who would have otherwise been left destitute.
No two pieces are alike. Known as folk art, Monkeybiz pieces have been sold to stores in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.