Back in high school Tshepo Sedumo had just got himself an iPod Touch when he went on the hunt for speakers. But on discovering how expensive speakers could be, Sedumo decided to get inventive.
“I remember I was in Grade 12, while walking around my house I noticed a wooden crate my pops had brought home from an event he attended – a wine crate as it turns out,” he says.
“I liked the wood it was made out of – and it could open. I was bored so I decided to make a speaker out of it.” Now the owner of speaker and boombox manufacturing business Grove Audio, Sedumo’s designs still make use of wood as a primary material, which adds to the boldness of his boomboxes.
Despite only being officially in business since 2016, Grove Audio is making waves and was featured in Forbes Africa magazine last year. His work has also been showcased at the Design Indaba conference.
When one thinks of the boombox, hip-hop comes to mind. Sedumo was a late bloomer and only established a musical pallet fairly recently. He says he preferred tinkering around as a kid.
Hip-hop has become a strong influence on his work and he played me a Future and Zaytoven track to show off the sound quality of his speakers; the sound was straight slapping. The twentysomething-year-old also enjoys the sounds of local deep house.
The speakers are made of sturdy pinewood with a leather-textured fabric and carbon fibre detailing. Sedumo’s products are locally manufactured using mostly local materials, with only 20% of the components coming from abroad.
Grove Audio has several ranges, but the main product offered is the G2 Boombox. The company’s standard G-series is accompanied by the more experimental S-series designs, while the R-series features speakers for rental purposes – a service Grove Audio also provides.
“Depending on the design, it can take seven to 10 days [to build a speaker or boombox]. I don’t keep a lot of stock on hand due to the bespoke nature of my business,” the enterprising owner says.
He gets his artistic references from the web. “As my designs got better and I started thinking about competing with other companies, I would look at quality home theatre systems; what are they doing, how can I differentiate myself?
“My designs are a modern take on the boombox. I have so many plans and avenues I want to explore in growing my business. I would like to make a push into the music scene,” he explains.
Check out Grove Audio’s creations for yourself at www.groveaudio.co.za