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NDEBELE DOLLS

Posted by Ana on April 22nd, 2015 | post in Uncategorized |No comment

The Ndebele people in Southern Africa are noted for painting their homes brilliant colors that stand out in the barren countryside and for their similarly beautiful clothing.  They have created a wonderful tradition of dolls that is also shared by their neighbors, the Zulu. The bead work on the Ndebele and Zulu dolls is very detailed like the clothing worn by the women themselves.

In traditional Ndebele life during courtship, a suitor would place a doll outside a young woman’s home, indicating his intention to propose marriage to her. When a young woman would prepare to get married, she would be given a doll that she would name and care for. Her first child would  then be named for the doll. Due to the great social, political and economic upheavals in Southern Africa, many of the traditional customs have been seriously disrupted.  However many parts have survived in varying forms. These dolls have helped to strengthen the Ndebele cultural identity. Additionally the beaded Ndebele dolls are an important export item and a welcome source of income for many Ndebele and Zulu women. These dolls are universally appreciated for their style, grace and charm.

 

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