Born and raised in South Africa, Charmaine witnessed the cruelty of apartheid as a child and saw the miracle transformation of her country and the release of Nelson Mandela. She watched his path to becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994. Charmaine always had a passion and vision to promote the message of forgiveness and peace that former President Nelson Mandela shared. In 2012 her vision came true.
As a designer and owner of a marketing firm, Charmaine met the founders of RIACT (Robben Island Art Company & Trust), who rescued the original prison fence from Robben Island from being abandoned in a landfill in 2009. This fence held captive the apartheid political prisoners on Robben Island, including Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Robert Sobukwe and many more, until their release in 1989 and 1990.
Charmaine shared RIACT’s vision that this fence could become a positive part of South Africa’s legacy through art and jewellery. She was granted the right to design artwork and have exclusive rights to create jewellery with the Robben Island fence in 2013. Charmaine cut and created each piece completely by hand to make her first Legacy Collection. Each piece is bespoke which involves a lengthy design process of cutting or bonding the fence together and then a expert sealing process and then finally is plated in gold or silver.
Charmaine donates a percentage of profits to both the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Abalimi Bezekhaya, which translates to “We Are The Farmers”. Abalimi Bezekhaya teaches organic farming in the Cape Town townships.