MAKE A TRADITIONAL VENDA POT
Remember when you were a young child and you celebrated the rain by jumping into puddles, whirling around with your mouth open catching raindrops and scraping up the oozing soil to form creatures from clay?
As I sit with Florah Randela, I recall the giddy joy in the art of creation and the satisfaction of making something with my own hands. The trees throw shade onto the grass mats where we sit, knee to knee as Florah lets me bury my fingers into the wet clay collected from the nearby river. Her whole body leans in to the task of skill-fully kneading, pinching, stroking and turning the raw material into a rounded bowl. My hands follow hers…clumsy to start with but faster as I feel the form emerge. Florah’s mischievous eyes dance and laugh while we work and learn together and I realise that this collaboration of creation crosses all barriers of language and culture.
Florah Randela os a craftswoman from Mukondeni Village at the heart of the Ribola Art Route. Here, the Matriarch, Sarah Munyai, taught the women of the village to create clay pots in the age-old way and fire them in a furnace dug into the ground, covered with slow-burning grasses. These practical and decorative pots, platters, vases and fire-pots are decorated with traditional patterns and symbols using ochre and graphite collected from the Luonde mountains.
At this pottery village, these creations in clay form an undulating river of pots around the hutted homesteads.
Giant vases lean protectively towards the tiny round water pots made by the children and fish swim from bowl to bowl in an eternal race against the hardening clay. Although you can also find these pots at Mukondeni Factory, the feeling of village life here adds to the magic of the experience… women walking past with buckets of water on their heads or working with harvested corn cobs… chickens laying eggs in the deepest pots and dogs lazing in the sun-beams. So even if you just want to buy some pots and not take the time to learn how it is done, you will have a wonderful experience.
Right now, you may only be able to support these inspiring craftswomen by buying their pots online, but if you are travelling once again and have the time, first prize is to enjoy this really immersive, authentic experience, learning a new skill while you spend time with a Venda woman at work.Connect with us and book your immersive pot-making experience today!