n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - An exploration of the Durban beachfront isiZulu women beadmakers' experience of learning beading




The Durban beachfront is enriched by the presence of the isiZulu Women beadmakers. Their colourful array of beaded items (products) are skillfully made by them and then sold to locals and tourists. What is interesting is the social dynamics of sharing and learning the skill and knowledge of beading that is evident among these women. We asked three women to be volunteers in this research as we were interested in exploring their processes of learning beading. We used a naturalistic, interpretive qualitataive case study approach to give meaning to the experiences that each women had. The data collection methods included semi-structured interviews and visual data (photographs of the products). The qualitative data collected for the research was analysed using an ongoing process of inductive analysis. The findings reveal that their experience of making beaded items moved from an essential historico-socio-cultural one to an essential socio-culturoeconomic one. What was very significant was the intense social learning that took place among the women, in a casual, free and high spirited manner. Sharing and learning was so necessary and acceptable


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