Reuben Ndwandwe exhibition opens at KwaZulu Cultural Museum

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Baskets by world-renowned master weaver Reuben Ndwandwe are on show for three months in the newly-refitted KwaZulu Cultural Museum at Ondini near Ulundi.

Ndwandwe (1943-2007) lived in the Hlabisa area of Zululand where his superb, tightly-knit baskets attracted a steady stream of local and international buyers for private and public collections. 

“He used traditional ilala palm fronds which he dried and dyed himself,” said Dudu Hlongwa, education officer of the museum administered by Amafa, the provincial heritage body.

“He also shared his talents with women weavers whom he helped with technique and design. 

“Each basket was unique, precise and symmetrical with extraordinary attention to detail. His work highlights the beauty and significance of baskets in Zulu culture, past and present and is a must-see for locals and visitors to the region. 

“He was also much inspired and guided by his profound faith in Shembe.

“This collection, which belongs to the Provincial Museum Services, is an appropriate one to highlight recent additions to our museum which has had a major refit bringing its exhibits and material culture up to the end of apartheid and into democracy.” 

The KZN Cultural Museum, open daily (Adults R20, children, R10) has an extensive and rich collection reflecting the province's Zulu culture and archaeological heritage. 

Adjacent is Ondini, King Cetshwayo’s royal residence burnt to the ground by the British forces in the final days of the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. Modern archaeological excavations identified the original site which has been partly reconstructed.