Home can mean different things to different people. To many of us home implies the house we live in, with solid walls and floors. To many in Africa, home is a hut with thatched roof, known as a “rondavel’
South Africa, the country in which I was born and grew up, is a country rich in beauty and diverse in cultures. Each tribe in South Africa has its own language, customs and traditions. Many of the African Folklore Embroidery kit designs are inspired by the customs and traditions of various tribes and cultural art in South Africa.
Before entering a Zulu village it is customary to shout out the greeting “Uku-Khuleka “. This identifies the guest and indicates that they come in friendship. In Zulu culture, wealth is measured in cattle. Cattle are also used for “Ilobola”, the dowry or bride price. The dowry is usually more than eleven heads of cattle. The Zulu custom when setting out to travel on a long journey is to spit on a stone and then to throw it away. This is to ward off any evil spirits that may be tempted to come on the journey and to evoke good luck and good fortune on the journey.
In a traditional Zulu village, the house or bee-hived shaped hut of the grandmother is known as the “INdlu-Nkulu”. This hut is the most important in the homestead. The Zulus emphasize tremendous respect to the grandmothers in their tribe and families. The bee-hive huts are hand woven. The bee hive huts are usually built in a circle, surrounding their cattle (which is their main asset).
In Xhosa villages, individual homes are built in the shape of conical roofed huts with mud walls. The inside of the huts is smeared with cow dung and traditionally men sit to the left and women sit on the right of the fireplace. Corn, also known as maize or “mielies”, is crushed in the middle in a hole in the ground. Crushed corn is used to make a staple meal called “pap”.
In the Ndebele tribe, it is customary for the young women of the tribe to re-plaster the outside walls of their home and reconstruct the entranceways. They then paint and repaint each year their impressions of every day life interspersed with geometrical designs on the wall surfaces. While the young men are away at “wella”, the young women throw their homes open to the visitors and relatives who travel from far away places. A white flag hoisted on a pole outside the front entrance signifies that the mother has a son at “Wella”.
Our embroidery kits feature houses and village scenes that are inspired by traditional African houses. You will see that all our kits include African Threads. The manufacture and dying of these beautiful threads create employment and income for women in South Africa. We carry over three- hundred variegated thread colors in stranded floss, rayon, silks and ribbons. You can visit our thread room online or print out our catalog with all our kit designs at www.aflembroidery.com
To learn more about South African art and culture, you can read my book, Safari through African Folklore Embroidery, which will take you on a visual safari through South African using African Folklore Embroidery as the medium to educate about life in South Africa.
Between June and July, nearly half a million people will visit South Africa for the World Cup Soccer. Most of these will be Americans, visiting South Africa and the African continent for the first time. To celebrate the world cup soccer taking place in South Africa, we are offering 20% discount during the month of June on all orders over $30.00 You can order online at www.aflembroidery.com or by phone 818 999-6094.
If you would like s schedule of classes, lectures and workshops, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send you’ my summer schedule. If you are a member of a quilt, embroidery or fiber art guild and are interested in expanding your guilds members creative journeys or and would like to see my teaching information and availability, please contact me.