Africa's beading heart

25 May 2012 | Story by Newsroom

To bead, or not to bead?
For UCT staff in All Africa House's Common Room on 22 May, there was only one answer.

Vuyokazi Mdingi and Margie Tainton Lou Ann Hamilton and Danita Brown
Beads of inspiration: (First picture) Vuyokazi Mdingi and Margie Tainton; and (Second picture) Lou Ann Hamilton and Danita Brown try their hands at beading

Pliers, wire-cutters and steely-eyed determination were out in force as staff got to grips with the machinations of African beading techniques at a workshop jointly hosted by the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) and the Human Resources Department as part of UCT's Celebrating Africa Month.

Under the watchful eye of jeweller Rushni Johnson, brought in to run the workshop, the students-for-the-day carefully crafted colourful necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Each participant kept the glittering fruits of their toil.

Norma Derby, African academic links administrator at IAPO, added: "Beading is unique to Africa, and I think this is part of our contribution [to UCT's Afropolitanism drive]."

"In addition to empowering people and helping them learn how to do something, it's important to celebrate your heritage," said Johnson of the workshop.

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