A group of women in Mapuve village make traditional pots from river clay, decorated with Tsonga patterns. They gained the skills from their mothers and ancestors and the work that they do has been part of their culture for many centuries.
Spirits embedded in clay
It is believed that the women place their spirits into the clay before they actually start creating each pot. The production of the pot then becomes an extension of the collective energy that is evoked through the women’s songs. The Tsonga pots are traditionally hand-made from river clay sourced locally. Rocks are used to grind the clay. After digging it, the women place a small bundle of twigs from a sacred bush on top of the clay to appease the spirits. Then they test the quality of the clay, when it tastes ‘sweet’, it will make excellent pots. A variety of pots are made and used for different purposes. Their workshop is based about 8 kilometers from Giyani in Mapuve village and visits can be arranged.