Kirsty has Africa etched on her soul and she is deeply passionate about what life has to offer when living on this continent - whether that be horse riding in the Okavango Delta or being at her gorgeous home with her dogs watching the hippos and bird life from their river bank. A creative at heart, we (obviously) love what she has started in her company Motaki, a furniture and homeware collective empowering local artisans in Africa, creating luxury with a conscience https://www.instagram.com/motakicollective/. We interviewed Kirsty, an avid SOUL jewellery fan, from her home in Botswana.
Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself - where are you from originally, where do you live now and what do you do?
I grew up in the gorgeous African country of Malawi. My parents divorced when I was very young (amicably ☺) and both remarried. My Dad lived in the southern part of the country and my Mum in the north. Luckily for me both my parents are incredibly adventurous and active so holidays back from boarding school were either spent on the beaches of Lake Malawi, water skiing, fishing and snorkeling, or up in the Nyika Plateau Mountains to the north, on safari with my Mum, horse riding and hiking in the freshest of air. A truly pure and free childhood that I will forever be grateful to my parents for giving to me.
My Mum and Step Father David moved to Botswana 10 years ago and it was during a visit to them in the small dusty town of Maun on the edge of the Okavango Delta that I not only fell back in love with life in the bush and being on safari, but also with the love of my life John, a total bush boy through and through. I was living in Australia at the time and decided that Africa was where I needed to be and I haven’t looked back since.
We now live permanently in Maun where I run, together with my parents our family horse safari business, Ride Botswana (www.ridebotswana.com). I have also recently started a furniture collective, The Motaki Collective where we create a platform for amazingly talented local artisans and craftsmen throughout Africa to create pieces that are not only beautiful, unique and 100% handmade, but that encourage traditional inherited skills to create designs that are covetable to wider international markets. Creating Luxury with a Conscience ☺.
What’s your most memorable adventure?
John and I drove through Namibia 3 years with 8 of our nearest and dearest friends. With any adventure there are highs and lows, which makes it memorable. Namibia is one of the most scenically beautiful places I have ever been to, a harsh beauty that captivates you constantly – making getting a flat tyre a beautiful experience.
How does travel feed your soul?
Experiencing something new and unfamiliar forces learning which in turn encourages a growth within… and that, is soul food!
They say home is where the heart is. What does ‘home’ mean to you?
As much as I love exploring the world, I am a real ‘homebody’. Living in the Kalahari means it can get very dry and desolate, our home is our oasis. We are forever filling our space with the people we love and you will rarely find our home without a friend or family member visiting, adding to what makes it a home. Our home is my sanctity and safe space, but it also loves a good party!
What makes Africa special?
I think it’s the diversity of this incredible continent that is completely intoxicating and addictive. There is ALWAYS more to see and explore in everyway, whether is be it’s wilderness, culture, history, food the list goes on. For me it’s the challenges that come with Africa that constantly create perspective in ones life and continue to make me feel, not only thankful for everything I have, but to also try and make some small difference in one way or another. This continent has endless potential.
What are your favourite SOUL pieces to travel with?
Oh, that’s a tough one! I sleep in my Tuereg bangle and a custom Hollow Disk Necklace that says “GOOD & VIBES” a inside joke with Abi that makes me laugh every time! I’m a little more on the Boho side with regards to my own personal style so my go to’s when travelling that go with almost everything in my wardrobe are my Swahilli Africa Necklace (taking a bit of home wherever I go!), Addis Ivory Necklace, Half Moon Earrings, Ibo Feather Hoops and the purple Marrakech Earrings (that jazz up any outfit but are so feminine at the same time).