chapter  2
20 Pages

Producing People: The Socio-materialities of African Beadwork

WithShari Daya

In the new urban park in Green Point, one of the positive local legacies of South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a glittering snake is coiled in the indigenous groundcover, two iridescent sunbirds flash in the sun, and a giant ladybird rises in front of blocks of flats overlooking Table Bay. A new series of South African postal stamps features two very similar ladybirds, a Ndebele angel, a cell phone, several birds and a boxer with bright red gloves. At the busy intersection of Rhodes Avenue and the M3 highway, traversed by most journeys to and from the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, young Zimbabwean men hawk indigenous flowers – bright bunches of strelitzia, agapanthus, and arum lilies. On a street corner in Kalk Bay, a seaside suburb 35 kilometres south of the city, a woman sits outside a popular bakery selling dolphins, sharks and whales along with red chilli peppers and hearts on key-rings. And at a craft-market in Rondebosch, a life-size lion is for sale. It has a light bulb inside to turn it into a glowing tawny brilliance at night.