November 2011 / Reedview, North West Province / South Africa
The boys in my village love making these wire cars. You see the boys (typically in grades five through seven, once they have the kinaesthetic ability to create the cars, but before they get too “cool” to do other things) tearing up and down the dirt roads with them. They use the materials at hand: scrap wire from the fences in their yards; the empty snuff tins that teachers sneak hits from during class; bits of leather, twine, and rubber. Despite the simple materials, their cars demonstrate excellent craftsmanship. Great care goes into making them: the boys make precise and careful bends in the wire, forming symmetrical and structurally sound scale models of bakkies, khumbis, and sedans. Many even feature sophisticated Capstan and Bowstring steering systems to direct the car’s movement as they run up and down the streets.