Thembalethu' means 'Our Hope' in isiZulu. Empowerment of previously disadvantaged women and children begins with healthcare, education, and the Thembalethu Beaders who partner with Bumbanani Creche, a not-for-profit organization, in a symbiotic and holistic way for maximum effect: Bumbanani Creche provides a safe haven and a daycare facility for local children, together with a structured workplace for the Beaders, offering resources, research and teaching facilities in the art of bead work for children and adults alike.
In return, Thembalethu Beaders provide tangible skills leading to marketable retail, educational products, and enhance the understanding of both the public and private sectors in HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns. Together, both Bumbanani Creche and Thembalethu Beaders target South African and international communities with their methodology of self-sustenance and open communication, key concepts to overcoming this pandemic and its terrible impact on the economic viability of families struggling to survive in surrounding areas.
What is Zulu Beadwork?
African Zulu bead work has been cherished and honored for centuries. It is rich in tradition and culture. Zulu handmade beadwork is a craft practiced by women of the tribe. Older women pass down the tradition to their daughters. Men are normally not involved in the crafting of bead jewelry but they do wear beaded items. There are two types of Beaders:
1. Beadmakers that produce beads from various materials.
2. Beadworkers who are the artists that create jewelry, garments , etc.
The colors of the beads used also influenced the meaning of the message conveyed by the bead work. The colors used can have positive or negative meanings. The main colors used by the Zulu craftswomen are green, blue, red, black, white, yellow, and pink. Each color has a positive meaning, however the meaning can be altered by the context in which the beads are used within the jewelry piece.
Below is a list of these seven colors along with the positive meanings associated with each followed by a list of each colors negative meaning.
Zulu Bead Jewelry - Positive & Negative Meanings of Colors:
|Blue||Faithfulness||Hostility, ill feelings|
|Red||Strong emotion||Anger, impatience|
|Black||Marriage||Death, sorrow, despair|
|White||Love||Has no negative meaning|
|Pink||Adds emphasis to a promise||Poverty|
Within Africa mostly all people wear different beaded jewelry and or accessories. Africa jewelry is traditionally used to tell a story or about something. Depending on the African culture and time, jewelry has been used as a cultural affiliation symbol or designated as a status.