Dave Field, a trainer from Hereford College of Blacksmithing, has just returned from a fortnight in Tanzania where he has been teaching advanced techniques to the best of the blacksmith groups we are working with in Lake Zone Tanzania.
He has taught them how to carry out better heat treatment to make sure the tools are of the correct hardness, and how to perfect the eyes of the side axes. He has also shown them how to make some totally new products. These blacksmiths will in turn become trainers of other groups in their locality, so spreading the skills.
A lot of these smiths were originally taught by TFSR-funded trainers twenty years ago. Recently some of their skills had become a little rusty, so we obtained funding from “Wales Africa Community Links” to send Dave out to Tanzania for a fortnight. He had a great time and reports that the smiths were very keen to learn how to improve their products.
Last week they had the chance to display their new products at the Trade Exhibition in Mwanza. TFSR Cymru sponsored the prize for the most innovative blacksmith’s product, “the Joseph Mashinji Prize” in memory of our old friend Joseph.
Here are Anthony Safarey (right) with his hammers and bicycle bells, and behind are the prize-winning sash cramps from Mkeremi Group. They are made using old scissor jacks from Wales – a design that comes from our own David Smith.
More pics on our Photos page