For generations, the women of the Ndebele of southern Afrcia have produced an art of remarkable richness and vitality. In their ceremonial beadwork and in large murals that cover the exterior walls of their mud dwellings, these women have created designs that are at once ancient and modern in their simplicity, bright colours and abstract patterns.
Courtney-Clarke’s photographic work is the result of five years spent visiting the Ndebele in southern Transvaal (South Africa) and recording their art, which almost disappeared in the late 1970s when the apartheid government forcibly relocated the Ndebele in a new desolated homeland. In many cases, these photos are the only surviving documents of this people artworks
About the Author:
Margaret Courtney-Clarke was born in Namibia in 1949. After studying art and photography in South Africa, she spent the next four decades working as a photographer between Italy and the USA and across the African continent. Drawn to remote places, Courtney-Clarke has produced numerous award-winning books and her work has been exhibited and collected worldwide.
Courtney-Clarke’s eight major publications to date include her trilogy on the Art of African Women: Ndebele (1986), African Canvas (1991) and Imazighen (1996). They were translated into five languages, and enjoyed multiple editions and reprints for 20 years.
“These magnificient photographs help me to see how beautiful I am and in fact they help me to see that wherever it is to be found, the human spirit is beautiful, creative. innovative, resilient and here to stay.” – Maya Angelou