Spring is in the air with the red flames of the coral trees in Limpopo shining from the streets and villages and attracting sunbirds and bees all over Limpopo this time of the year. At Madi a Thavha we had one of our busiest winters ever. Our lodge were full of interesting visitors the whole season long. They loved to experience real, everyday life on village tours in the north and to meet rural crafters and artists at their own homesteads.
Renovations and improvements
The cultural heritage centre has been restored to its former glory since the fire in 2015 and the lapa and veranda of the farmhouse have scored the huge African music panels and African spirituality panels with the renovations which makes the Dancing fish gallery an even more inclusive live-in gallery than before. Lodge-owners Aart and Marcellle have at last build themselves their own pad. They renovated a part of the gallery-building to create a beautiful apartment where their Delft and Dutch heirlooms sits comfortably between their African art collected over the years.
Joining creative forces
Well-known Zimbabwean artist Nonny Mathe has been working and teaching textile art at Madi a Thavha again this August. Amongst various batik-like paint techniques she uses maize flour resist to create work with striking layers of texture in bold, rich colours. During her visit our handyman Paul and Dutch intern Maartje joined their creative forces with Rose Baloyi at her homestead on the mountains at Riverplaats.
Like many rural Tsonga and Venda women Rose re-do her homestead’s walls with beautiful traditional patterns, every 3 months or so. The whole courtyard floor and traditional huts then get new textured ‘door-to-door-dung-carpets’. This time however, Rose taught us her skills on textile and Nonny could get to know more about the Tsonga and Venda patterns and traditions.
Madi a Thavha NAC flagship for crafts in Limpopo
We recently heard that the National Arts Council (NAC) has chosen Madi a Thavha as a flagship Craft Initiative Project which aims at aligning master crafters with talented handcrafters in training and development programmes in Northern Limpopo. Through our previous NAC Creativity in Craft Training programme, we kept on searching for craft talent in the region and assisted masters and newcomers in collaborative workshops to preserve old skills and nurture talents in different craft forms. During 2016-17, the promotion and the sustainable expansion of the market in our culturally rich region will continue. This NAC project aims at perfecting successful products from the previous years, while building proficiency and sourcing alternate raw materials for new craft ranges as well.