BEAD ART IS one of South Africa’s traditional and most colourful art-forms. Historically it has been the domain of women largely within the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho communities, who are introduced to the craft by their mothers, grandmothers and other women in the community. But bead art seemed to be in decline as the consumer economy took root.

Now, though, this is changing. A few years ago, ceramic artists Barbara Jackson, Shirley Fintz and Mathapelo Ngaka, filled with a desire both to resurrect this art-form and to inspire social change in South Africa’s poor communities, set up Monkeybiz, ...


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