African - South African Art and Culture


African continent has fashioned a huge variety of art from primitive times to the present day. In many occasions, art making has been associated to ritual or tribal ceremonies, as well as serving more worldly ornamental functions, but it is not always easy to determine the purpose of a particular work. It is also difficult to label as “art” the creation of African craftspeople who often considered their work as an important part of secular or religious life. In many tribes, these artists had high status, but the artist would not of necessity have been the equivalent of the western fine artist who relied on patronage or the marketplace to standardize his or her production.

I came crossways with this South African clan called “Ndebele”. Their culture is filled with artistic essentials, with bright colours and shapes decorating their homes, clothing and craft work. Their style has influenced lot of fashion designers and interior architects.

Many ethnicities survive in KwaNdebele, as well as the painting of huts in colourful geometric prototype. Their paintings are generally done by the women, and draws inspiration from the intricate beadwork that many wear, with bright polygonal patterns. There is often a modern influence as well – telephones, aeroplanes, cars and swimming pools can all appear, usually reflecting the aspirations of the artist. Weaving is also common, with dried grass being used to make necklaces and bracelets, as well as mats."

Traditional wedding ceremony amongst the Igbo of Nigeria

This love for having children is manifested in Igbo names. Let us take a few typical names. One of these is Nwabu-uwa - a child is all the world to me. This name exposes the Igbo man's sentiment and the high-water mark of his ambitions. Other things in life rank second to this desire. Then there are names equally very expressive Nwakasi, a child is priceless, most precious; Nwaka-aku or Nwakego, a child out-values all money, all wealth; Nwadi-aguu, a child is desirable, man is literally famished with the hunger for children. Basden further supports this view with this remark: men and women are mocked if they

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