Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dankie, Suid-Afrika...

The new South African flag, adopted in 1994, 
is the only flag to use six colors and is said to represent 
the new democratic South Africa. - Post Aparthied. 
Today we celebrate World Kindness Week by making a short stop in South Africa.  While there, we will pay thanks to this diverse nation for contributions to the world, from which we all benefit. 

Eleven official languages, five racial categories, three capital cities (Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Pretoria), and a religious and cultural life as varied as its people.  That's a lot to be proud of.  Of course that was not always the case.  Many of us might unfortunately associate South Africa with our limited knowledge of apartheid - the horrific legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government (until the mid-90's).

To be proud of?  There is much.  To South Africa we are thankful for or... in the spirit of the week... To suid-afrika ons is dankbaar vir....

Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace prizewinners
Macadamia Nuts
The Palace of the Lost City, the largest theme resort hotel in the world.
Inventor of the Cat Scan
R62, the longest wine route in the world
The world's first heart transplant, and

The amazing cultural tradition of Zulu Beadwork.  I'll be brief, but if you appreciate creativity you will LOVE this!  

Zulu's are the largest South African ethnic group and have treated the rest of the world to their intricate and symbolic beading.  A short written work from explains,  
"Most if not all cultures have a kind of symbol system to show whether a person is married or single.  In the U.S. most common is the use of wedding and engagement rings.  Among traditional Mennonites, if a door is painted green, it means there is a daughter eligible for marriage.  The Zulu people developed a complex code using colored beads.

Young girls learned bead work and the meaning of the symbols and colors used from their older sisters.  The bead work was usually worn as a head or neck band.  Men depended on female relatives to explain the code.  They see whether a a woman is engaged, married, has children or unmarried sisters.  The patterns and colors can also tell what region comes from  and what her social standing is.

The one basic geometric shape used for this kind of bead work is the triangle and a maximum of seven colors.  The three corners of the triangle represent the family, mother, father, and child.  The point of the triangle is facing down is the symbol for an unmarried man or boy, while a triangle with the point facing up is the symbol for an unmarried woman or girl.  A married man is symbolized by two triangles joined at the point forming an hourglass shape.  A married woman is shown by two triangles joined at the base making a diamond shape.

The seven colors used are black, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, and white.  Each color has two meanings, one positive, one negative, except white.  White has only one meaning, purity and spiritual love.  When another color is used beside white, it takes its positive meaning."

Take a look at this...

Black: Marriage, rebirth or death, sadness
Blue: Faithfulness, request or hostility, dislike
Yellow: Wealth, garden or badness, thirst, withering
Green: contentment or discord, illness
Pink: Promise, high status or poverty, laziness
Red: Love, strong emotion or anger, heartache
White: Spiritual love, purity
When in South Africa, let's do like the Zulu's.  Today, how about telling us how you're feeling or what's on your mind using the Zulu's Bead Code?
Besig om te teken af tot more...

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