• Founded 2010
  • Sector: Social Enterprise (Pottery training and mentoring of young people)
  • Location: Macassar, Western Cape
  • Website: http://www.think-udu.co.za/


Proudly Macassar Pottery is a social enterprise based in the town of Macassar in the Western Cape. Founded in 2010, Proudly Macassar Pottery uses the production of clay drums and flutes as a means to connect with youths from the surrounding community. It works with young people in Macassar providing pottery skills training, and business opportunities, advice and support. It also provides wider educational and personal development guidance and mentoring, with the aim of empowering young people in the community and helping them to build more sustainable lifestyles. Macassar is a small town close to Cape Town with an approximate population of 40,000. Unemployment, substance abuse and gang related violence and criminality are significant interrelated problems for the community, particularly amongst young people. Proudly Macassar Pottery was conceived as a vehicle to help address these problems.


  • Establish Proudly Macassar Pottery as an artistic space that produces world class instruments to tourists and musicians
  • Use pottery as a vehicle to build long lasting friendships with young people in the community, inviting them to our weekly life skills sessions, where we hope to find common ground and ways out of the cycle of drug abuse and violence prevalent in Macassar

Background and Activities

Proudly Macassar Pottery was initiated by Johan de Meyer, a volunteer with substantial experience in youth development and community upliftment, and Do Won a master potter from Korea undertaking a three year term of voluntary service. In the present Johan de Meyer coordinates the business, providing pottery and wider life skills training. Do Won has recently returned to Korea but retains a consulting role and ongoing interest. Proudly Macassar Pottery is based in an old tavern building, and its premises act as a public space where all people in the community are welcome and safe. Johan, his wife Mimi, and their two children, have also opened up their home to some of the young people they are working with.

Proudly Macassar Pottery produces clay drums (loosely based on the West African Udu), clay flutes (based on the South-American Ocarina) and shakers. Every instrument has its own unique sound. The pottery studio is part of the vision of Restoring the Sound Centre of Learning, a ground breaking initiative started by musician Trevor Sampson that has brought world-class musical tuition to Macassar. Other supporters include UnLtd South Africa, Tourism Enterprise Partnership and Imani. At Proudly Macassar Pottery young people are paid to learn. They undertake an apprenticeship in pottery with wider lifeskills training and mentoring. They are then assisted in setting up a business, initially as subcontractors for Proudly Macassar Pottery, but with further assistance provided to aid them in expanding and developing their businesses.

To provide funding for its apprentices, and to help kick start their businesses, Proudly Macassar Pottery is currently running two externally funded projects:

  • Casserole dishes for Africa- Proudly Macassar Pottery want to place a casserole dish (made by the trainee potters) filled with meat into the ovens of each of 60 needy households around the pottery. Contact Proudly Macassar Pottery to sponsor a family at R400 each.
  • Road safety pins- Proudly Macassar Pottery is partnering with Drive More Safely - a non-profit working towards a safer road environment, to do a national roll-out of pins commemorating the International Day of Remembrance for Road Victims with pins made by Proudly Macassar apprentices.

Denver's Story

Denver van Rooyen was the first apprentice and is now the first sub-contractor of Proudly Macassar Pottery. Denver is 26 years old and lives near the pottery. He did not finish high school and for years his life was unstable and coloured by various addictions. Two years ago Denver received a learnership at the pottery. He is now trained as a potter and contributes to the Proudly Macassar Pottery's global orders; he also produces pieces for the local potters market. Denver is in the process of setting up his own pottery business with the help of Johan and Proudly Macassar Pottery. Over the last two years some of Denver's friends have also participated in the programme at various levels, as part of a group of about twenty young men and women working with Proudly Macassar Pottery.

Recent Successes

  • Proudly Macassar Pottery is the 2011 winner of the UnLimited Award
  • One of their works selected and displayed as part of the 2011 Western Cape Ceramic Society annual exhibition

Contact Details

Johan de Meyer

PO Box 88, Elsiesriver, 7480, South Africa

Tel. 0827477104

Email: friends.taking.hands@gmail.com

Website: http://www.think-udu.co.za/