Tulips and a Warthog

I love spring bulbs and having now given up my only garden bed for bulbs and annuals for the water feature, I have embarked on bulbs in pots. Next year I will have a lot more than hyacinths and tulips as I embrace balcony gardening in a bid to overcome space constraints. Meanwhile, I can enjoy these lovely purple tulips from inside the house.

Beautiful purple tulips and the beginning of a balcony garden

Beautiful purple tulips and the beginning of a balcony garden

As I was taking the photo I thought I would include the warthog which is a favourite in the category of “bits and pieces” collected overseas. I bought it in Nairobi when I was there in 2006 for the United Nations Climate talks. It is by one of Kenya’s most innovative sculptors, Kioko Mwitiki who is locally known as The Junk Man.

Tulip and the warthog

Tulip and the warthog

Kioko once welded milk cans in an aluminium works, until he realised that he could turn his welding skills into creating art. So he began collecting tonnes of disused engines, tin cans, wire, old machines and broken bikes and turned them into African animals. He even makes lifesize elephants, rhinoceros and warthogs but they present quite a challenge luggage wise.

He loves wildlife and is given rusty illegal snare wires from the rangers in the wildlife parks and turns them into manes for animals…like this warthog.

His lions have spark plugs for teeth and herons have old shower attachments for necks.

The body of the warthog comes from recycled land mines. He campaigns against landmines, and contributes to training jobless youth for jobs protecting wildlife rather than snaring them.

But in spite of his talent and contribution to a better society, his livelihood is now threatened by the global trade in scrap metal. The Chinese in particular are offering high prices for scrap metal throughout Africa, making his future precarious. It is another symptom of how resource scarcity is going to challenge us this century.

I had lots of photos of his work and his studio but they disappeared when my handbag with my wallet and camera inside, was stolen later in the day that I purchased this warthog.

2 thoughts on “Tulips and a Warthog

  1. Stunning Christine ! ( no pun intended ), does he need more markets ? I am a big fan of Grape Hyacinths, Freesias and Lily of the valley, but for a really good pot buster, it’s hard to go past the ubiquitous Agapanthus, tidy, vigorous, beautiful in flower and seed, and tougher than landmines. ( They are also a great nectar source for Spinebills in our garden).

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