FNB Vita honours rural crafts

6 September 2002

An unassuming woman from rural KwaZulu-Natal led the winners of South Africa’s premier craft competition, the FNB Vita Crafts Now Awards, when prizes were handed out at MuseuMAfricA in Newtown.

Lobolile Ximba received a R6 000 prize for her powerful “Aids Doll”. Other awards were given for works ranging from paintings, ceramic sculptures and quilt portraits to wooden soccer players and telephone wire baskets.

All the entries will be on exhibit until 24 September, as part of the museum’s special displays for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Veteran journalist Denis Beckett, who officially opened the exhibition, paid special tribute to Ximba, each of whose works tells a unique story of how rural women are dealing with the devastating effects of the Aids virus. Ximba was taught by her mother and has been making dolls since 1984. Her dolls are expressive and colourful.

Another Aids-related work came from the Karosswerkers of Limpopo province in the form of an embroidered cloth entitled “Aids”, designed by Calvin Mahlaule and Agnes Tshehla.

Calvin Mahlaule and Agnes Tshehla’s embroidery “Aids”

Held in tandem with the Association of Potters of Southern Africa’s African Earth, the event was adjudicated by professors Ian Calder and Karel Nel of the universities of Natal and Witwatersrand respectively.

Nel decided against awarding gold, silver and bronze prizes, and instead gave four equal first prizes of R6 000 each to Ximba, the Karosswerkers, Johannesburg’s Digby Hoets and Katherine Glenday from the Western Cape.

Awards of R1 000 each were also presented to Lother Bottcher for his glass vase, Kim Sacks and Joseph Msomi for porcelain and wire bowls, Themba Mnguni for a wooden pair of soccer players, Zama Khanyile for a telephone wire basket, and Jabulile Nkosi for her quilt of portraits.

The awards for the African Earth pottery exhibition were given by Calder, who singled out for praise two ceramic sculptors, Henrietta Ngako and Vusumuzi Ntshalintshali.

Gauteng’s Henrietta Ngako won the City of Johannesburg Arts, Culture and Heritage Services Premier Award for her work. Born in the town of Rustenburg, North West province, Ngako has exhibited widely in the country and abroad.

She has work in collections at more than 10 museums and art galleries across South Africa, and has received numerous awards, including a merit award at the International Invitation Exhibition of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Taiwan in 1992.

Source: City of Johannesburg web site