A Treasured Object
Before writing my piece for “It’s Write Easy,”(my Friday writing group) I would think about what I want to write. It can take some days before I’ll sit down and start writing. It was the same this week. At first, I thought about the object that I wanted to use. I kept on thinking about the item and what I wanted to write about it.
I looked up some history and where my object came from. *
It is a trinket decorated with beads in a traditional Ndebele pattern. I looked up trinket first to see if I could use it. Meaning of trinket in English. A small decorative object or a piece of jewellery that is cheap or of low quality.
To me, this trinket is one of the precious objects that I treasure. A special lady made the beadwork herself. She was our washing lady in South Africa from 1960 to1980. Johanna was a proud Ndebele. She decorated three trinkets with traditional beadwork. She gave my older sister, me and younger sister each one when we left home. Johanna and I had a close relationship because I usually helped her with the washing and cleaning. She made me an extra typical Ndebele girl to hang in my car, meant for luck.
Thinking back about how we appreciated each other brought back fond memories of my days growing up on the farm.
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*Ndebele- Nguni tribe Limpopo(Transvaal) and Mpumalanga(Laeveld)
Using a chicken feather rather than a paintbrush, Mahlangu applies thick black outlines and vivid colors. She creates her compositions without the help of preliminary drawings or a ruler for straight lines, painting freehand with incredible precision, and deciding on the shades as she proceeds. As with a younger generation of artists, Mahlangu may use acrylic paint today, which opened up an entirely new color palette, but when she first started, she worked with natural pigments she made herself and cow dung, limited to yellow, white, ocher, black and red hues. “Acrylic paints have allowed me to use many more colors than I could have with natural pigments,” she notes. “What many find interesting about my artworks is that although they are based on traditional Ndebele designs, they are still very modern and current. They can fit into a home or office anywhere in the world and don’t appear dated.” This move to blend tradition and modernity has elevated the art and helped to showcase the Ndebele people’s contribution to contemporary art