Although the origins of the South African Ndebele are shrouded in mystery, they have been identified as one of the Nguni tribes. The Nguni tribes represent nearly two thirds of South Africa’s Black population.
(Kuthathu= three.)
ART: Painting on silk
Ndebele women traditionally adorned themselves with a variety of ornaments, each symbolising her status in society. After marriage, dresses became increasingly elaborate and spectacular. In earlier times, the Ndebele wife would wear copper and brass rings around her arms, legs and neck, symbolising her bond and faithfulness to her husband, once her home was built.
FEATURED in Original Entities
18 September 2010.
5 October 2010.
FEATURED in Retired and Happy
21 Sept. 2011
FEATURED in Image Writing
27 March 2013.
FEATURED in Explore
27 March 2013.
She would only remove the rings after his death. The rings (called idzila) were believed to have strong ritual powers. Husbands used to provide their wives with rings; the richer the husband, the more rings the wife would wear. Today, it is no longer common practice to wear these rings permanently.
In addition to the rings, married women also wore neck hoops made of grass (called isigolwani) twisted into a coil and covered in beads, particularly for ceremonial occasions. Isigolwani are sometimes worn as neckpieces and as leg and arm bands by newly wed women whose husbands have not yet provided them with a home, or by girls of marriageable age after the completion of their initiation ceremony.
Married women also wore a five-fingered apron (called an ijogolo) to mark the culmination of the marriage, which only takes place after the birth of the first child. The marriage blanket (nguba) worn by married women was decorated with beadwork to record significant events throughout the woman’s lifetime.
For example, long beaded strips signified that the woman’s son was undergoing the initiation ceremony and indicated that the woman had now attained a higher status in Ndebele society. It symbolised joy because her son had achieved manhood as well as the sorrow at losing him to the adult world.
A married woman always wore some form of head covering as a sign of respect for her husband. These ranged from a simple beaded headband or a knitted cap to elaborate beaded headdresses (amacubi).
Boys usually ran around naked or wore a small front apron of goatskin. However, girls wore beaded aprons or beaded wraparound skirts from an early age. For rituals and ceremonies, Ndebele men adorned themselves with ornaments made for them by their wives.

Painted on silk, using my imagination!

We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.

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  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 4 years ago

  • MIchelle Thompson
    MIchelle Thompsonover 4 years ago

    Stunning – love it

  • Thanks so much Michelle!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • MikiFonv
    MikiFonvover 4 years ago

    So lovely!

  • Thanks Miki! Much appreciated.

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELover 4 years ago

    Hello dolls, great work Elizabeth, and wonderful write up.

  • Thanks Andrea, your comment puts a smile on my face!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Maree  Clarkson
    Maree Clarksonover 4 years ago
    1. Hierdie is uiters pragtig Liz! Lief die 3 dametjies!! Beautifully done!

  • Baie dankie Maree, voor ek begin skilder het, het ek heelwat syverfwerk gedoen. Lekker gewees!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesover 4 years ago

    EXCELLENT WORK! interesting info Elizabeth!

  • Thanks for accepting Magaret and also your kind comment!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • craftloft
    craftloftover 4 years ago
  • Glimlag!! Dankie baie!!!

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • marella
    marellaover 4 years ago

    Ougat en kleurvol !! Beautiful work Elizabeth ! x

  • Dankie marella, waardering!! x

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Angela  Burman
    Angela Burmanover 4 years ago

    Such beautiful work and wonderful expressions Liz

  • Thanks so much Angela, I appreciate your kindness! ;-)

    – Elizabeth Kendall

  • Deborah Lazarus
    Deborah Lazarusover 4 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature.

  • Thank you very much Deborah, I’m smiling!!! ;-)

    – Elizabeth Kendall

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