Mr Ngum purchases already processed leather from the main markets and makes beautiful artistic products, such as bags, wallets, shoes, belts and more.
We were able to witness one small part of making a handbag, which in total can take the whole day to finish.
After the design of the bag is determined, Mr Ngum selects the type of leather he will use. He cuts out pieces that he will later glue and sow with the machine together. Today, imported glue is used, but leatherworkers used sticky gum from certain types of trees in the past. Pieces of leather would be glued together facing outwards, which enables the leatherworker to cover what is going to be the inside of the bag with beautiful African patterned material, then glue ends nicely and put a stitch to it. He is stitching the bag with the sewing machine, using a stronger thread and needle. After all the parts are sewn together, handles are made and sewn to it, and the bag is ready to be turned around and reveal the final shape. The leather product then has to be adequately maintained to retain the softness and shine.
If you want to buy leather products, you are welcome to visit any craft market in The Gambia. Mr Papa Ngum has his stall at the side entrance to the Senegambia craft market, with the number 39. You can also contact him on +220 798 1968.
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