Sky is the limit for furniture maker – The saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure can be attested to by a homeless man who transforms discarded wood into furniture.
For he earns a living selling the items to shops in the CBD.
Lester Benjamin Maphike, 50, known as “Sky”, makes furniture on a pavement in Hope Street, where he also sleeps.
His trade was ignited two years ago while living in Kloof Street when a passing motorist spotted him constructing a coffee table and bought it for R350.
This was a few weeks after Maphike had been released from jail in 2012. He had been convicted of breaking into a shop in Long Street in 2006.
“It was my first time (making furniture). I was using pallets they threw out at the Spar in Kloof Street. I was using only a hacksaw and wire.
“This other lady came past and asked if I was making it for someone. I told her I was selling it… I was really hungry and asked her how she could pay. She gave me R350. Since that time, I have never stopped,” Maphike said.
At the moment, Maphike is assembling a baby’s crib, and is also making four chairs.
He said most customers asked for flower boxes, but he also made tables, chairs and small cupboards.
Most of the customers were passers-by who spread the word to friends. Items sell for between R150 and R500.
As much he was pleased by this, Maphike said he was concerned about crime. He said a few months ago, two men were caught making off with two coffee tables while he slept.
“I have to ask one of the car guards to keep an eye out for my stuff, because the skollies steal everything.”
Maphike, who is originally from Kensington, has been estranged from his family for some time. His sisters and father are in Johannesburg.
By Xolani Koyana – Cape Times
Follow him on Twitter @JustKoyana