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'Joy from Africa to the World’ at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

The festive season is reimagined in an African way and the many visitors will be welcomed by the energy and design of seven totems. This is Mapula's!

Photograph by Arehone Malovhele and Jacques Van Rensburg

In anticipation of the December holiday season, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town has come alive with hand-crafted African décor. Marching proudly down the centre of the shopping aisles are eight Travelling Totems celebrating the creativity of the African continent. These form part of the 'Joy from Africa to the World 2021 Campaign'. Mapula Embroideries were invited to participate along with six other well-known craft groups. The purpose is to celebrate the creativity of the African continent and provide employment for communities.

The Totem created by Mapula Embroideries’ artists and artisans, shown above, is divided into 5 sections starting from the ground up:

First Section: This section depicts scenes of semi-rural life and nature. It illustrates everyday activities in the Winterveld and Hammanskraal where the Mapula women are situated and showcases some lovely botanical embroideries to lift the spirit.

Second Section: This section constructed of three-dimensional taxis depicts the main mode of transport on which the women rely to give them access to work in Pretoria/Tshwane and to families spread far and wide. Many hours are spent on the road in taxis and scarce cash is needed to pay for transport. Income from embroidery work is essential to help pay for this large part of a family’s budget.

Third Section: This section depicts the devastating effect that Covid has had on the lives of the Mapula women, their families and their communities. Lockdowns have all but stopped sales of Mapula products causing untold hardship. Food gardening has, however, flourished as resilient women have found alternative ways to meet their immediate needs and keep positive.

Fourth Section: This section with beautifully embroidered three dimensional green leaves depicts new life, growth and hope for the future as well as a reminder that this COVID-19 winter will pass.

Fifth Section: This apex section represents LIFE after Covid-19 with people dancing and rejoicing in the rain. Mapula means Mother of Rain. In Southern Africa rain brings joy and rain brings growth and prosperity.

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