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You may have narrowed down your everyday carry knife choices to two: the Small Sebenza 21 or the Mnandi. Both of these high quality, precision-made knives are from award-winning maker Chris Reeve Knives. A knife aficionado would happily pocket either of these exquisitely beautiful knives. So, how to you choose between them? To help you, we're going to compare the size, materials, features of the two popular models.


Chris Reeves began making knives in a one-car garage in his native South Africa in 1984. From that modest start, Chris Reeves Knives (CRK) has grown until it is now a worldwide leader in producing high-quality, precision knives. In fact, Chris Reeves was inducted into the Cutlery Hall of Fame in 2015 because of the outstanding design of his knives and their exceptional execution.

In 1989, he moved his expanding operation to Boise, Idaho, so Chris Reeves knives are now proudly 'American made'!

The Comparisons...

For the purpose of these comparisons, we're using the base models of this Chris Reeves Small Sebenza 21 and this Chris Reeves Mnandi with standard woods.

Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21 Chris Reeve Mnandi
sebenza21 sebenza25
8.335 in. Total Length 8.335 in.
3.625 in. Blade Length 3.625 in.
4 in. Closed Length 3.5 in.
4.7 oz. Weight 5.2 oz
S35VN Stainless Steel
Stonewashed finish
Blade Material S35VN Stainless Steel
Satin grinds & polished flats
Thumbstud Blade Release Machined Grove

The Small Sebenza 21 features a blade that is 3" long; the Mnandi's blade is slightly smaller at just 2 3/4". Overall length of the Small Sebenza 21 is 7". The Mnandi has a total length of 6 1/4" - this makes it the smallest folder of the entire CRK line. Closed, the Small Sebenza 21 is only 4'' long. The Mnandi is even smaller at a modest 3 1/2". The Small Sebenza 21 comes in at just 3.0 ounces. The Mnandi? It weighs a miniscule 1.5 ounces! Neither one of these lightweight knives will weigh you down. The mnandi can be easily carried in a shirt pocket just like a writing pen.

Blade Material

Both of these knives feature S35VN stainless steel by US steel maker Crucible Industries. Both are heat treated to a Rockwell hardness of 59-60 RC. S35VN is a specialty particle steel that was designed for the cutlery industry; having a excellent balance of edge retention, toughness and stainless quality. The choice of stainless steel for these knives means there's less maintenance for you to do. It also means a long life for your new knife with less opportunity for corrosion. The small sebenza 21 comes with a blade that is a stonewashed finish; the mnandi comes with a more upscale blade finish that has a satin finished grinds with a polished flats.

Blade Release

The Small Sebenza 21's anodized titanium thumbstud allows for sure, smooth opening with the right hand. In contrast, the Mnandi relies on a machined grove in the handle for opening.

Frame Lock Construction

Both of these knives feature the innovative frame lock construction that Chris developed for all of his folding knives. The thick titanium lock bar is an integral part of the frame lock handle. Since the lock bar is almost 1/8" thick, you don't have to worry about these knives closing on you unexpectedly! It also allows for easy closing with one hand. The mnandi has a inlay that covers the entire length of the integral lock bar - some prefer this aesthetically to the exposed lock bar of the sebenza.

Handle Material

The handles of both of these knives consist of aerospace grade 6AL4V titanium alloy. This material choice is the reason behind these knives' incredible strength to weight ratios. The standard small sebenza 21 has a matte gray blasted finish on all sides; the mnandi comes with a satin finish on the flats and a gray blasted finish on the other sides. Additionally the mnandi always comes with an inlay of some kind.The machined, computer generated graphics on some of the Small Sebenza 21 add a dose of visual excitement to this robust little knife.

Pouch - Slip Case

The Mnandi comes with a small calfskin slip case that protects from keys and other objects in your pocket. The standard small sebenza 21 does not come with small pouch but is available for additional purchase. (the more upscale versions of the sebenza such as the wood inlay, damascus and CGG models do come with a pouch.)

Pocket Clip

The Small Sebenza 21 has a large, sturdy titanium pocket clip that will ensure it's available when you need it. The Mnandi's pocket clip is smaller with a more refined appearance and is fully machined. It also offers options for right or left hand mounting or even removing it completely.


The base Small Sebenza 21 is priced at $350. Just like its overall size, the starting price for the Mnandi is a bit higher at $400 (yet comes with a wood inlay and pocket pouch that are missing on the standard sebenza 21). For the quality and precision craftsmanship of these future heirlooms, these prices are quite reasonable.

Current Handle Inlay and Blade Options

Small Sebenza 21
Handle Options

  • Carbon Fiber (KnifeArt Exclusive)
  • Thuya Burl
  • Box Elder Burl
  • Micarta
  • Spalted Beech
  • Bog Oak
  • Macassar Ebony
  • Blasted Titanium

Blade Options

Choose between a drop point or Insigo blade and S35VN stainless or Damascus steel.

* The Insingo blade is available only with the plain handle or Micarta inlay; tumble finish only
Handle Options

  • Box Elder Burl
  • Thuya
  • Spalted Beech
  • Macassar Ebony
  • Bog Oak

Blade Options

The blade is available in your choice of stainless or Damascus steel in a modified clip point design.

Wooden inlays lend an organic, earthy feel to both of these fine knives.

The stain and corrosion resistant S35VN Steel has an edge that will hold up to whatever work you give it in the years to come.

Our Conclusions?

You really can't go wrong with either one of these high quality knives. That being said...

The Small Sebenza 21 is a great knife for an everyday carry. It's robust enough to accomplish a variety of tasks without being too bulky to carry with you everywhere you go. Use this knife as much as you want and you'll still have an heirloom to hand down through the family!

The Mnandi is a more refined, upscale knife that's perfect for the sort of light duty you might need it for around the office or wherever else a well-dressed gentleman might find himself. Whether opening a letter or cutting a bloom for your lady, you're sure to enjoy the envious glances of onlookers.

This hard-working little knife is 'dressed for success'. Casual Friday or 'tuxedo required' special occasion, the Mnandi will fit right in. As we like to say, it's "more board room than war room". Mnandi is Zulu for 'very nice' and we couldn't agree more!

As Chris Reeves himself says about his knives, they are “Elegant, functional, perfect”. Well said, Chris, well said.

Whichever knife you choose, rest assured that you are purchasing it brand new from an authorized Chris Reeves Knives dealer. Your new knife will ship for free to any U.S. location on the same business day that we receive your order. We also guarantee your complete satisfaction. That's how sure we are that you will love your new Chris Reeves folding knife!

Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21 CGG Cross Hatch Graphic
Chris Reeve Small Carbon Fiber and Raindrop Damascus Sebenza

About the author: In early 1998, Larry started a with the goal of featuring high quality knives and knifemakers. After graduating from the historic Little Rock Central High, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. He enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing, entrepreneurship and laughing with my friends and family over a great meal.