Make your own free website on
Republic of South Africa

Republic of South Africa

Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle

from their book

In Her Hands:  Craftswomen Changing the World

Monacelli Press, 2000

Zulu women who live near Durban, South Africa, weave isichumo (beer baskets) from llala palm leaves; only two of the tree's six leaves can be removed each year.  When wet, the leaves swell, making it possible to transport sorghum-derived beer, which Zulus drink daily as well as for rituals and ceremonies.  Isichumo, considered fine art objects by galleries and museums all over the world, tell stories through their designs: diamonds represent the feminine, and triangles, the masculine.

Mamiza Nyawo--whose pleated leather skirt, flare-crowned hat, and shawl identify her as a married woman--demonstrates basket weaving at Dumazulu village near Hluhluwe.  While her husband is job hunting, she successfully supports their six children.

Gianturco and Tuttle photographed and interviewed ninety craftswomen in twenty-eight villages in twelve countries on four continents.  For more information, visit:

Editor's Note:  The above was obtained from the calendar, In Her Hands - Craftswomen Changing the World, published by Pomergranate Communications, Inc., Box 6099, Rohnert Park, California 94927, USA.  For more information or to place an order:  800-2771428;


Think Globally - Act Locally - Pray for World Peace