By purchasing Madame Lisbet jewelry, you support Hadidjatou, Ai, Haoua, Fatou, Issa, Idi, Sali, Saliou, Hajja Diddi, Yeriima and their families. They are the great artists behind the jewelry.
Beads and beauty is in Hadidjatou’s heart. She is a great and original artist. Since the beads give her great pleasure, she feels that she cannot stop making new necklaces. When she started making Madame Lisbet jewelry, she only knew the names of the colors of cows: red, black, white. Little by little and through many passionate discussions, she started naming orange, brown, green and blue. She has invented original names for some of the different categories of beads, like ‘thousand flowers’, ´booro joey´, and she now knows the African names of all the beads that exist. She has one daughter born when she was 14 years old.
Aï and Haoua are sisters. They were three and one years old when their father, Malam Oumarou Nduudi died in a car accident in 1992. He was Lisbet’s teacher of the Fulani language and culture. Since his passing, Fatou, the mother of Aï and Haoua has struggled to feed and raise the children without a husband and father. She is very clever and very preoccupied with her daughters´lives.
Fatou, Ai and Haoua make different and less ‘urban’ bead patterns than Hadidjatou.
They all have very rigorous approach to style and quality of design.
Issa is the key silversmith at Madame Lisbet since the passing of his old father – many years ago. His father left three wives and more than thirty children. They make jewelry and filigree work in the Hausa quarter. Issa has completed four years at school, and since he works very hard, he has now built his own house. He has two wives and ten children. He makes the silver chains, the silver rings in the necklaces, and the silver ‘cups’ around the beads. He also makes finger rings, bracelets and necklaces. He is a very dynamic person with great ambition.
Sali (left) is a Fulani beads and craftwork salesperson from Garoua north of Ngaoundéré. He is very knowledgeable about craft and beads. He finds it sad that the beads trade has not been very good in the past few years. He left for Congo where he buys things to sell in the Cameroonian capital, Yaoudé. He calls Lisbet regularly from Congo to hear whether she will buy beads, of which he sends pictures through Whats’ app.
Saliou (middle) has been working with Lisbet for 25 years. He is Fulani and was a petty trader in Meiganga, when his sister, Lisbet´s friend, asked him to take care of Lisbet´s compound. His seven children have been born in Lisbet´s house. They all live together in Lisbet´s compound. Salihou has a little shop. Through a window in the wall that surrounds the compound, he sells tea, bread, eggs, sweets, matches etc. He runs the house and the Madame Lisbet business: he works with the silversmiths, pays for their work, counts the chains, rings, cups, beads, necklaces, and sees to it that everything goes well and that everybody is happy. He is a very warm and conscientious person without whom there would certainly be no jewelry for sale.
Ousseini (right) was Lisbet´s key beads seller for more than ten years - before he passed away all too soon. He travelled all over West Africa. He was Kanuri from the lake Chad area. He had one wife and a small girl. He became as passionate about beads as Lisbet did, and he dreamt of coming to Tromsø to sell jewelry with her. He knew a lot about beads and was a very tough salesperson: he always managed to get a high price for his beads.
Aicha, Saliou’s wife helps her husband with reading, sending pictures of jewelry to Madame Lisbet and the like. She is also running the household of Madame Lisbet.
Idi is Issa’s older brother. He also produces all the silver elements for the necklaces, bracelets and earrings. He is a very humble and modest person and craftsman.
Hajja Diddi is a humble and modest Mbororo woman who has collected ‘fey-fey’/’beddu’, glass-plates with beautiful designs. She also finds all kinds of Mbororo crafts, calabashes and beads. The beads are old white glass beads, mai tumatir, and the hand-cut wooden beads and Chinese-made ‘djigida’- plates in many colors that we also use for necklaces. Hajja Diddi is very wise and warm and she loves Mbororo culture and tradition. Madame Lisbet has been working with Hajja Diddi for many years.
Yeriima is Ousseini’s uncle. He is from the Guider tribe and originally introduced Ousseini to crafts trade. He is searching for beads for Madame Lisbet.