“My Beautiful Home” competition… When art and life mingle

Amman Today

publish date 2022-03-26 10:59:12

The Ndebele tribe has its origins in present-day South Africa, but its members had fled the Zulu wars in the nineteenth century and settled in the Matobo region of present-day Zimbabwe in the 1830s, bringing with them their own tradition of decorating the outer walls of their homes. Various graphics with distinctive engineering designs.

In Ndebele culture, home decoration is a women’s duty that has been passed down by women from generation to generation for hundreds of years. Over time, designs have incorporated patterns from other cultures and evolved to include wild animals, flowers, and people.
Hence the idea of ​​organizing an annual competition entitled “My Beautiful Home”, with the aim of documenting and preserving the local Ndebele tribe’s tradition of painting and preserving homes. It was initiated by Pathisa Nyathi, a local historian and director of an arts center in the Matobo region. That was in 2014.

Since that time, this competition has developed and achieved great popularity, as after the number of participants in it was only 30 participating houses, when it was launched, the number increased to 429 in 2021 AD. For culture elsewhere in Zimbabwe and in other countries. The women begin to paint in the dry season, which usually runs from March to October, and to do so they set out to search for raw materials in the surrounding nature, collecting sand to paint gray and white colors, and using ashes and charcoal residues from The fires are to create black and white, while they extract red and brown from red clay soil. All dyes are natural with earthy colors that mimic the surrounding nature. As for the drawings, they have distinctive geometric patterns that carry special symbolism, such as circular shapes that mimic the circular shape of the planet Earth, the sun, the moon and all other planets, in addition to Everything that Africans built in the Middle Ages was distinguished by its circular shape, whether it was huts, shields, or pots.

There are sinuous shapes that look like an inverted triangle or a conical, and in the beliefs of the Ndebele tribe, this shape symbolizes the fertility of women, hence the importance of women’s participation in decorating their homes, as they are the ones who give life and nourish it.

After the women finish the drawings, the view of the houses looks like an art gallery in nature, in which art is woven with life, just as in the neighboring “Matobo” hills, which include huge granite boulders, some of which form the caves that contain the largest concentration of rock art in South Africa Some of them were decorated with inscriptions and drawings that are up to 12,000 years old.

After months of painting, the beautiful motifs and drawings fade with the October rains, a sad loss, but also a welcome end to the dry season, and it gives these ladies clean canvases to start painting on again next year.

It remains to be said, that the “My Beautiful Home” competition is not limited to giving the women of the “Ndebele” tribe a sense of pride in their culture, which they express in these beautiful ornate drawings, but it has also become a source of help for them through the tourists who began to flock to the poor “Matobo” to see that exhibition. In addition, the prizes they get through the competition are practical prizes that help them in their lives, including farming tools and water transport, such as plows, water tanks, wheelbarrows, solar energy equipment, kitchen utensils and beekeeping boxes.

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Source : اخبار الاردن

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