This Week’s Theme: Beads
Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, of South Africa, created this stunning bead art entitled “My Sea – My Sister – My Tears.” She and Bev Gibson founded Ubuhle Beatiful Beads in Little Farm, Lidgetton in the Natal Midlands.
The five artists of Ubuhle Beautiful Beads who are sustained solely through the sale of their artwork have taken the skills inherited from their mothers and grandmothers and have created a new art form – the Ndwango. This is the artists’ own word for describing their works and it translates modestly as ‘cloth’ or even ‘rag’. An Ndwango is a painting in beads. These artists have employed Zulu and Xhosa beadworking techniques, such as beading directly onto cloth in order to create a canvas with the surface entirely covered in closely strung and intricately woven beaded patterns.
Ntombephi is a master beader, and she has taught many other women to bead. Her skill as a beader was the initial impetus which led her to co-found Ubuhle with Bev Gibson in 1999. Ntombephi is known as “Induna” which means “leader,” a term of great respect in South Africa. The title also indicates the responsibility she feels for the community, viewing herself as the guardian of its future. Ntombephi hopes to establish the Ubuhle guild so that children, including the orphans of her sisters Bongiswa and Thembani and other orphans cared for by the community, will one day learn to bead.
Inspiration for Today
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
– J.K. Rowling