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Traditional Xhosa Tote Bag

Traditional Xhosa Tot Bag Handbag
Traditional Xhosa Tot Bag Handbag
Item# HB4

Product Description

Traditional Xhosa Tot Bag Handbag
Bag Size:

Made in South Africa.

This unique handbag has been made by the Xhosa women of the Eastern Cape, the bag has been made using traditional Xhosa techniques, the black banding and beadwork are typically what they sew onto their clothing. This handbag is a tote bag style, with a zip for closing, the cream 100% cotton bag has been embellished using the traditional Xhosa black banding and beadwork, the front of the bag has a hand painted African pot. The back of the bag has a small amount of embellishment.

About the Xhosa People.

The people of the Xhosa Tribe of South Africa have a very rich cultural heritage and have played an important part in the development of South Africa, especially when the most famous member of the Xhosa, Nelson Mandela, became South Africa's first president elected in a democratic election in 1994.

During the seventeenth century, a gradual migration movement took place which led thousands of people from southern Zaire in various directions to cover most of Africa south of the Sahara. One of the tribes who took part in this migration was the Xhosa, descendant from a clan of the Nguni. Today the Xhosa is the most southern group of the migrations from Central Africa into the southern Africa areas.

The Xhosa finally settled in the area that is now known as the Eastern Cape (formerly the Transkei and Ciskei) and comprises of a number of clans, the main groups being the Gcaleka, Ngika, Ndlambe, Dushane, Qayi, Ntinde and, of Khoisan origin, the Gqunkhwebe.

Today, many of the Xhosa-speaking people are an integrated part of South African society and have mostly adopted the western culture. However, many Xhosa living in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape are still bound by the traditions and lifestyle of their ancestors and many customs and rituals have stayed intact.

The Xhosa were, and still are, known for the magnificence and variety of their beadwork. Traditionally, their garments and ornamentation reflected the stages of a woman's life: a certain headdress was worn by a newly married girl; a different style by one who had given birth to her first child, and so on.

Marriages - the Xhosa are polygamous (though today only the wealthier men have more than one wife) - involved protracted negotiations between the families of the bride and groom over the payment of the bride price (lobola).

The Xhosa man traditionally fulfilled the roles of warrior, hunter and stockman; the woman looked after the land and the growing of the crops.

A clan comprised of a number of groups, each led by a chief, or Inkosi, who owed his position to his mother's status (the society, however, was a patriarchal one in which women weren't formally accorded political authority).

The land was communally held; and great emphasis placed on giving according to need: everything was shared, in bad times as well as good; Xhosa families still routinely help one another with such tasks as hut-building.

The body of Xhosa lore has much in common with that of the other Nguni peoples such as the Zulu and Swazi. Animism, and recognition of the presence and power of ancestral spirits and of a supreme authority, are basic elements of belief. Misfortune and illness are attributed to unnatural of supernatural influences (such as the tokoloshe, a hairy and potentially malevolent goblin who attacks at night). Other figures are the huge lightning bird (Impundulu), and the gentle aBantu bomlambo, human-like beings believed to live in rivers and the sea, and who accept into their family those who drown.

The Xhosa also have so-called diviners in their tribes. The diviner is the Xhosa's healer. Diviners help the people in the tribe with phsycological, physical, mental, and medical illnesses. The diviners are mostly women. They wear a shawl and headdress of fur most of the time. It takes about five years of being an assistant to a diviner until you become one yourself.

Initiation rites differ markedly between the various African peoples; with increasing urbanization many groups have abandoned circumcision altogether. Among the Xhosa, the youths whiten their bodies and wear a white blanket or sheepskin to ward off evil. During the ceremonies, enlivened by energetic dances, they wear costumes made from reeds, and at the end of the lengthy initiation period - spent in isolation from the rest of the community - the specially-built huts in which the young men have been living are ceremoniously burned.

The Xhosa language is sometimes also called a 'click' language because of the use of so many click sounds as consonants. These sounds were borrowed from the Khoisan languages of the Khoikhoi and San families, who originally lived in the area. The x in Xhosa represents a click like the sound used in English to spur a horse on, followed by aspiration (a release of breath represented by the h). In English the name is commonly pronounced with an English k sound for the x.

About the Pot.

Known in Africa as the 'potjie' - pronounced "poi-key", our cast iron pots came to the African continent during the late middle ages with the Dutch and English settlers. The potjie has co-existed with African culture for centuries, refining this historic & age old pot style.

Traditionally, the recipe includes meat, vegetables, starches like rice or potatoes, all slow-cooked with Dutch-Malay spices, the distinctive spicing of South Africa's early culinary melting pot. Other common ingredients include fruits and flour-based products like pasta. Potjiekos originated with the Voortrekkers, evolving as a stew made of venison and vegetables (if available), cooked in the potjie. As trekkers (pioneers) shot wild game, it was added to the pot. The large bones were included to thicken the stew. Each day when the wagons stopped, the pot was placed over a fire to simmer. New bones replaced old and fresh meat replaced meat eaten. Game included venison, poultry such as guinea fowl, wart hog, bushpig, rabbit and hare. The potjie, with a bit of cooking oil inside, is placed on a fire until the oil has been sufficiently heated. Meat is added first, depending on the preference of the cook. This can be anything from lamb or pork to biltong. The meat is spiced and often a form of alcohol is added for flavour - mostly beer, Old Brown Sherry or a Dessert wine like Humbro. When the meat is lightly browned, vegetables like potatoes and mielies are added, along with whatever spices are needed. Water or other liquids may or may not then be added, depending on the views of the potjie chef. The lid is then closed and the contents left to simmer slowly, although some chefs may permit stirring from time to time. A potjie is a social activity, with guests generally engaging in fireside chattage while the potjie cooks, typically three to six hours. A potjie is usually accompanied by rice, pasta or something similar.