There is a small corner of Swaziland that has only grown pineapples, flowers and sugar. Now among the fields a number of world-class crafters has sprung up
Words and Pictures: Sue Adams
What happens when you mix animal shapes with Italian glass design techniques, or fluorescent European designs with the weaving of Swazi lutinzi grass, or Shakespearian theatre with soapstone carving?
You get the kind of art and crafts found in the Malkerns Valley in Swaziland – and the world is sitting up and taking notice. Swaziland is surprisingly developed these days and this tiny kingdom has big roads, efficient border posts, and nowhere is very far away. As one Swazilander says, “We don’t have a rush hour, we have a rush minute.” Which makes getting to the Malkerns area near Ezulwini and Mbabane very easy.
Most tourists head for the Ezulwini Valley, home of the famous Royal Swazi Spa and its casino and golf course, but I chose to drive just a little further to the rural Malkerns area to find the artists who are making waves in the art and design world.
Story continues on page 58 of the December 2014 edition.
Here is a gallery of our favourite snaps from this feature: