Twenty years ago on a sugar plantation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Bev Gibson and Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela founded a collective called Ubuhle (pronounced uh-boo-klay), which means “beauty” in the languages of the local Zulu and Xhosa peoples. The women of Ubuhle live and work together, raising their children and crafting large, often searingly personal beaded textiles called ndwangos — in English, “cloths,” or “rags.”
Ornament production really took off about 50,000 years ago, when we see the earliest standardised jewelry in the form of small disc beads made from ostrich eggshells. In Africa, ostrich eggshell beads are one of the most common types of archaeological artifacts, particularly from sites dated to the last 10,000 years. They are also found in smaller numbers throughout Asia where 12,000-year-old ostrich eggshell beads have been discovered in China.
It’s truly magical to watch a person get pulled into a moment of gazing at a simple trinket or fabric that inspires them– awakening an African sensibility or story waiting to be told. A family affair, there at the festival little ones are dressed in their African attire toddling around freely taken into the atmosphere of family and fun. As it is in Africa, their parents don’t need to be nearby because everyone looks out for each other, a whole tribe of people that know you by name or by face can equally show you love, correct you and keep you safe.
Known for a classic style with a dose of glam, Erika Hollinshead Ward is currently taking cues from the natural world. Here’s what’s inspiring her now.
The museum comprises three townhouses and a 6,000-square-foot backyard sculpture garden that together stretch across almost a whole city block. Founder, owner, artist, and self-styled visual storyteller Olayami Dabls uses rocks, mirrors, wood, and iron to create sculptures that are parables for the development of African and African-American history and culture. According to its website, Dabls created the museum to help visitors better understand the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement through his sculptures and his collection of African objects.
Inspired by her late great grandmother’s grind stones for grinding maize, Lerato Mfazwe’s a live installation at the exhibition, titled Ukungqusha, about grinding maize on stones, was inspired by her late great-grandmother.
An initiative to support the development of innovative ideas led by women has been launched by the United States (US) Embassy in Ghana in collaboration with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Accra.
“Viola, from New Orleans-ah, an African Woman, was the 19th century’s rescue worker, a global business goods raker, combed, tilled the land of Commerce, giving America a certain extra extra excess culture, to cultivate it, making home for aliens not registered, made business of the finer, finer, had occupations, darning thread not leisure with reason and with luster, in ‘peek-a-boo’ racial disguises …”
The rich history of Ghanaian beads dates back to ancient times when they were first used as the King’s currency for the exchange of slaves, textiles and alcohol.