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Joseph Kimemia: turning used tyres into beautiful furniture

Recycling at home continues to be an important practice of reducing waste and protecting the environment against pollutants.

Those who have worn-out tyres in Nyahururu consider them a waste but for Joseph Kimemia he considers them a gem. He ekes a living from the used tyres by designing various furniture.

Deputy President Dr. William Ruto receives a table made from old tyres by Joseph Kimemia in Rurii ward, Nyandarua County. Photo by Antony Mwangi

The self-taught tyre artisan says it takes him a very short time to design and make an item out of tyres. “I have mastered the art and I can now use the shortest time possible to finish a design.

“I collect the tyres mostly from garages. The small ones go for Sh100 and car tyres Sh300. I then clean them and ensure there are no loose hanging wires which could be dangerous. I dry them then apply a black paint because it makes it easier to paint other desired colours on them,” says Kimemia.

He uses spray paint because of its all-weather nature. Depending on the design and type of furniture, glass, wood or cushions materials may be used.

The process of creating a seat or coffee table takes four hours’ maximum. This, he says, involves joining together two same-sized tyres to give size to the furniture.

“My dream is to inspire as many people as possible. I want to let the youth know that one doesn’t need to rely on a white-collar job, but you can create your job. Always look for opportunities and be your boss,” he says.

He says his greatest achievement so far was when the Deputy President Dr William Ruto recognized his art and bought a table from him during his last visit in Nyandarua County.

A table designed to look like the map of Kenya which has been made from old tyres by Joseph Kimemia. Photo by Antony Mwangi

“I designed the table and took it to Rurii ward where the Deputy President had visited. When his aide saw the table they advised me to take it to the podium where he was seated. It was a turning point for my art as many people who saw me on TV and social media started ordering my products,” narrates Kimemia jovially.

However, Kimemia says it hasn’t been an easy journey for him because he gets a lot of negative energy from his friends and community, but this hasn’t killed his dream and vision.

Moreover, his latest designs are using metallic drums to make seats and the reception has been good. He uses social media to advertise his products for mass reach.

By Antony Mwangi and Rahab Naimutie  

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