KZN Midlands, RSA

The Dlamini

‘We’re all about making people feel loved’..

H23 – H44cm

We are a small team of makers based in KwaZulu Natal. Our Dlamini figurines have traveled to all parts of the world and are celebrated in homes across South Africa. We do not believe in mass production.. which means we hand build each and every Dlamini from a simple lump of clay, before subjecting it to the heat and flames of a gas and sawdust Raku firing.  That way, no two can ever be the same.

Can you believe we are now 20 years of The Dlamini !!?

It’s true.. In just two decades these little fella’s have been featured on front pages of newspapers, talked about in magazines, featured in large exhibitions, celebrated as awards to companies across the country.. and stood gracefully on desks of politicians, doctors, lawyers and dentists. But most importantly they’ve been welcomed into your homes and given as gifts to family and friends as far as the world will take them.

For prices on our full range please email Stuart Tompkins here: 



  •  Choice of 6 Raku fired glaze colours to choose from:  White | Blue | Corn yellow | Red | Salmon Pink | Green
  •  Free personalized message card 
  •  Free Courier service delivery to recognized South African destinations in our tailor-made tube packaging  
  • R350 each


Ordering directly from the studio; Dla’mini Ijuba’s and angels are priced at R350,  plus we’ll courier for free to your friends and family throughout South Africa

All you need do is select a  friend, business or family member (or a gift to yourself) anywhere* across South Africa (*no outlaying rural areas please)

Then email your request for invoicing – Please ensure you include the following:

  1. Name and contact details (incl mobile number) 
  2. Recipient physical address and contact details (incl mobile number)
  3. Choice of glaze colour
  4. Choice of Dla’mini
  5. Your personalised message…..



The Dlamini inspiration ..

Primitive pottery figurines from Africa date back to around 500 BC. The earliest of which were the Nok statuettes made of terracotta clay, combining strong formal elements with a complete disregard for precise anatomy. Their expressive quality is what inspired our now iconic ‘Collectable’, The Dlamini.


The Dlamini, Stuart Tompkins, Trayci Tompkins, Raku fired, Clay figurines, The South African Oscar, Midlands Meander, Tim, clay Dolls, The Dlamini dolls


the Dlamini, Tim Dlamini, zulu lulu, Dlamini figurines, south african oscar


‘The art of expression’ is what inspired ceramic artist Trayci Tompkins to design and create a range of Raku-fired ruler high clay sculptures for her then once a week employee Tim Dlamini and his friend, Tim Buthelezi.

For these quiet, deep-thinking men from the local rural community, it was a perfect match. They quickly learnt the art of clay sculpture and have since created a reputation within their own communities and families.

Once complete, The Dlamini’s are dried out in the African sunshine, then packed into modified chicken crates and transported back to the Tompkins’ studio for firing. 

the dlamini, stuart tompkins, raku firing,



Stuart balances his time between firing, packing and dispatching Dlamini’s… and he’s often found head first in the smokey surrounds of his Dlamini production. Firing Dlamini’s is not for the faint-hearted but Stuart has it down to a fine art.


After an initial firing to strengthen the clay, The Dlamini’s are covered in specially-formulated colour glazes and stacked 12 at a time into an outdoor ‘top hat’ kiln.

the dlaminis, the dlamini, raku firing, time dlamini, stuart tompkins, midlands meander

A gas flame burner is then steadily increased to heat the kiln to a temperature of 1000 degrees which melts the glaze. The Dlamini’s are then placed into a bed of sawdust and other combustibles. It’s in this burning wood smoke that the magic happens; altering oxides and crackling the glaze into random surface effects whilst turning unglazed areas black.

This method of Raku, with its spontaneous and random patterned surface, creates an artistic element to each piece and ensures that no two are ever the same.

The joy for our small team of makers, is knowing that in almost every country across the world there’s a Dlamini standing proudly in someone’s home or office. They are given as gifts, awarded to top achievers, sportsmen and women or simply collected by Art lovers to fill their homes… We thank you all for your continued support..




KZN | ZULU LULU Art House, Midlands

KZN | Woza Moya, Hillcrest 

KZN | Embo Craft Centre, Hillcrest

KZN | NSA Gallery, Durban

JOHANNESBURG | Mot Mot, Parkhurst

CLARENS | Clarens Treasure Box Gallery 



Looking to stock a range of The Dlamini figurines for your outlet, B&B or next function ? Orders in excess of 9 clay Dlamini’s qualifies you for a special wholesale price.  Contact Stuart Tompkins to discuss your order. Email


SAA, Nedbank, Nashua,  Drakensburg Boys Choir, PCB Chamber of commerce and The Midlands Literary Festival are a few of the organisations who have awarded bespoke Dlamini figurines to their top achievers or clients..

You can too, with Custom made Dlamini’s for corporates that retain their individual artistic feel.  A variety of glaze colours to suit your are available. Contact us today to discover what’s possible.  Contact Stuart Tompkins. Email

Follow The Dlamini on Facebook here.


We appreciate all the media coverage The Dlamini continues to receive in print media and magazines. Should you wish to tell our story to your readers, please contact Trayci Tompkins on Email.