Cosmic Souls: Interconnectedness through Be[ad]ing
Cosmic Souls is an online jewelry shop that focuses on everything handmade and beaded.
“We are all ‘lil cosmic souls, navigating life on this planet. And like the universe above, we too are interconnected here below.” — Zanele Mabena
Meet Zanele, a psychology student at Stellenbosch University with an interest in human connection, who uses the craft that she grew up practicing as a creative outlet, as well as a form of income. Referring to each of her individual jewelry creations as a ‘cosmic soul’, Zanele began beading necklaces to help her cope with life’s daily stressors. This was something that she learned as a young child, that has come back in her adult years, helping her to soothe her mind as well as provide her with a sense of clarity and serenity.
“We live in a fast-paced world where it can sometimes be difficult to stop and catch a breath to ease the mind. A reminder within every cosmic soul is to breathe.” — Zanele Mabena
Zanele draws her inspiration from nature, especially golden hour. The creative process usually begins with an “urge” that she then channels into her cosmic souls. After she picks a colour scheme, she then allows whatever other instinct to flow naturally. Some of the less common types of beads that she uses are seed beads, freshwater pearls and gemstones.
“Every jewelry piece that is made, is made with not only this idea in mind, but also made with so much love and positive energy. I use quality beads, sourced locally in Stellenbosch, as well as along the Garden Route.” — Zanele Mabena
Whenever Zanele remembers that Cosmic Souls is a black-and-female-owned business that she started herself, she feels a sense of empowerment. She recognises the importance of supporting black-owned businesses, stressing the significance of representation. She encourages others to dare to strive for their own business implementation and she wishes for others to feel as though they too can do it!
If there’s anything that can be taken away from Zanele’s story, it’s her voice in your head telling you to never give up. We’re all familiar with feeling as though a project may never get anywhere, but this cosmic soul encourages you to keep trying until it works out — because “It will always work out eventually”, she says.
If you’re looking for another black-and-female-owned business to support, Zanele recommends checking out Nkhensani Rikhotso, a South African plant queen who shares a seemingly endless amount of knowledge about our photosynthesized friends.