Born in Malawi and raised by a single mother in poor conditions, Martin Phiri had all the odds stacked against him. However, through the friendship and mentorship of his elderly great uncle who taught him how to make wooden toy vehicles, Martin was able to become the family’s sole breadwinner at the age of sixteen.
It’s no small coincidence that he comes from a small village named Kanchind, meaning ‘motor’. His entrepreneurial journey has taken him from Malawi to Gauteng, through a connection of a South African tourist who spotted his potential whilst on holiday in 2002. From there he was invited to join his artist-friend from Zimbabwe, venturing south to Cape Town’s Green Market Square and surrounding markets.
Passionate about giving opportunity to others, Martin now employs two other men who form part of his manufacturing team. The three of them work from Masiphumelele in the Southern Peninsula, making their beautiful wooden toys using only a drummill, chissel, sandpaper and haxsaws. Martin’s toy’s are sure to take every delighted owner, whether child or adult, on an unforgettable African adventure.