Mama Nonthlahla and Daughter Zikhona
Of Coral & Hive Artisan Rug Company
Visiting the talented ladies of Coral & Hive is always a special day… the entire studio sings with happiness, and giggles spill out into the wool-drying yard. This amazing artisan company in South Africa produces our gorgeous hand-spun, hand-woven organic rugs. The business is women-owned, women-managed, and all the weavers and spinners are women. The delight and pride they take in creating their pieces and the pure joy they have in working together is palpable. Together they form a close-knit family, and to be invited into their spirited, fun-loving, heartwarming world for a few hours is uplifting and humbling all at the same time.
In the middle of the camaraderie and smiles is one particularly special relationship... The moment you meet Nontlahla and her daughter Zikhona Macothoza, the warmth and closeness of that unmistakable, age-old bond is obvious. The laughter from their inside jokes and teasing floods the room with joy and you simply cannot help but join in!
Mama Nontlahla grew up in a poor rural community in South Africa and had to leave school early to help provide for her family. However, once she discovered weaving, she fell in love with the craft and has been with Coral & Hive since it began over a decade ago, eventually becoming one of the most senior and skilled weavers. She is also passionate about studying natural healing and using traditional plants and remedies to help people stay healthy. She loves to share her healing gifts with her family and her talented colleagues… who also receive the benefit of her other passion as she weaves– her singing! Daughter Zikhona became intrigued by weaving early on due to her mother’s talent and her innate love of fashion… she adores working with fibers and bringing them together to create beautiful and vibrant patterns. She has been weaving with Coral & Hive for three years now and is rapidly becoming a skilled weaver just like her mother, hoping someday to use her skills to start a business of her own. Passionate about music and city life, and known as the sassy one of the group, Zikhona brings a brilliant energy to the studio as she entertains the ladies with stories of her youthful adventures and gleefully accepts their teasing in return.
The special bond between Nontlahla and Zikhona highlights the traditional way in which high art and craft skills were learned. Believed to be endowed by the ancestors, they were meant to be nurtured in individuals and passed along from parent to child. Although the traditional ways are more rare now, and independence and ambition embraced, we love the way this beautiful pair displays both: all the warmth and nurturing of their roots as they weave together, and all the love, laughter and pride as Zikhona dreams of where her wings will take her.
Thank you to the amazing ladies of Coral & Hive for sharing so much talent, beauty and love with us through your amazing creations. And thank you Nonthlahla and Zikhona for allowing us to feature you this month. Happy Mother’s Day!