Afrographic is a small part of Vincent Urbain's Urban Africa business. Hailing from Belgium originally, Vincent is first and foremost, a leather handbag and accessories designer.
In the early years of his time in Cape Town, Vincent, like many artisans was plying his trade at the local craft markets where he met an old man, a local, who sold out of his little leather keychains every day while the rest of the artists left with almost as much product as they had started with. Vincent saw an opportunity to create additional revenue for the artist by marketing his keychains to a larger audience and thus began the business relationship between a young man keen for a fresh start and an old artisan with a desire to work less.
The molds used to create the animal keychains are detailed solid pieces of construction and have been created by the original artist who, now retired, makes a royalty on all product sold. The molds and materials are now supplied by Vincent but the keychains are created by women from the Khayelitsha township who gather to cut the leather in Vincent's atellier, but then do the remainder of the work in the comfort of their own homes, thus allowing them to work at their own pace and earn a living wage while still being able to be at home to care for their family and loved ones.
All keychains but the shark are created from veg-tan leather which is thicker, allowing for the leather to be soaked and moulded into shapes; a necessity for styles like the elephant and rhino. The shark on the other hand, is straighter, less curved and of more supple leather and was created to utilizing the off cuts from Urban Africa's handbag and accessories production.
$1.00 from the purchase of every elephant keychain is donated back to grass-roots elephant conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. Please refer to the Philanthropy section of our website for additional details.