Last month we featured Beloved Beadwork’s exquisite jewellery, this month the pieces of South African beadwork are equally as beautiful, but demand to be seen rather than to be worn. Monkeybiz creates a range of colourful dolls and three-dimensional animals that make you feel joyful by just looking at them. They are selected for Cape Grace’s gift shop by Africa Nova.
Since its inception in 2000, Monkeybiz beaded art has taken the world by storm, with people like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Annie Lennox and Samuel L. Jackson adorning their homes with quirky pieces. Each item is unique and hand-made by one of around 450 home-based female bead workers living in the townships of Mandela Park, Khayelitsha and Philippi. The pieces are irresistible because each is suffused with vivid colours, textures, stories and expressions from Cape Town’s townships. Each reflects the life and reality of its artist, interwoven with typical African vitality and exuberance.
The joyfulness in the creations underlies a more serious motivation behind this non-profit making business, whose philosophy revolves around women’s empowerment and health development in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa.
So once again there is a good reason to support this form of art and to give into the temptation to own a green and red spotted giraffe or a colourful chequered elephant. Take a look in the Cape Grace gift shop and see if you can resist buying one!