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AFRICAN EMBROIDERIES (article first published : 2001-03-19)

African Embroideries, a selection of needlework by the Mapula Collective and the Karossworkers Embroidery Group, is running at the Alliance Française in Sutton Crescent, Durban, until April 2. Both Mapula and Karossworkers have exhibited on the national and international circuit.

Mapula means “mother of rain” and the collective is made up of a group of women from Winterveldt, North West Province. Under the guidance of Emily Maluleke and Rossinah Maepa, they design and embroider practical objects such as cushion covers and table mats in addition to objets d’art. They specialise in cloths designed to be displayed on the wall. The needlework depicts subjects that vary from purely decorative motifs to themes from daily life which could cover anything from serious topics such as AIDS prevention to an homage to Bafana Bafana..

The Karossworkers started as a collective of five women in 1989, founded by Irma Van Rooyen on a Northern Province farm to try to create jobs and income for the women in that area. Today 510 women and 10 men participate in the project, earning a supplementary income while completing decorative clothes mostly on a black background designed by Solomon Mohati and Winnie Makhubela.




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