A r t i s t  

UNWABU "The one who moves slowly"/Colorful Chameleon

Nguni/Zulu art forms are famous for their bright colors. Unwabu is the basis. Representing human attributes found among virtually all AbaNtu "The People", Zola uses the term in her work as a gesture of honor and humility towards her ancient Nguni/Zulu ancestors (AmaKhosi) for their ageless and vast knowledge and intelligence.


Unwabu in Nguni/Zulu Cosmology (brief overview) - Unwabu or The (Colorful) Chameleon, is Nsondo's (Creator of AbaNtu, lit. "The Wheel" or "He who cannot be remade/reinvented") favorite animal and is the most revered animal in our cosmology.  Unwabu, lit. "The one who moves slowly", has both positive and negative traits. On one hand, Unwabu has a laid-back disposition and a reputation for habitual lateness. On the other, Unwabu moves slowly in order to be thoughtful and contemplative. Unwabu is blessed with stunning colors and a positive, vibrant approach towards life.  As such, Unwabu brings flare and creative energy to all of its activities, including a mere act like walking. On the other hand, Unwabu's self-awareness of its attractiveness creates a tendency to place a lot of energy and attention to grooming and self-praising, making it a bit of a "show off"; inviting the animosity of Unwabu's adversary - Ntulo "The one who moves speedily" or The Salamander.

Medium (pictured here): Glass Beads                  

KHEMU

Reflections of the Kemetic beading tradition is found in typical Nguni/Zulu beadwork. Characterized by a singular large, circular ring of beads that form the diamond shape (feminine and masculine principal) and falls evenly around the neck and back. Khemu is the Nguni/Zulu word for KMT. Ubuhlalu, visible on Kemetic tablets depicting AbaKhulu AbaseKhemu "The Ancients of Khemu/KMT", is easily traceable and is the term used for this style of beading.  

Medium (pictured here): Glass Beads                   

Ubuhlalu [Zulu]:Lit. "that which makes me stay". From the rootword "hlalu" meaning pebble, seed or bead. Ubuhlalu is the most ancient art form in the world.


Each bead represents a human being. The bringing together of many beads into a single piece of work is expressive of the Nguni-Zulu proverb "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" or "A person is a person because of other people". The basic unit of society is the family; we stay, we live, we only know ourselves/true identity though relations, familiarity and bonds with others.


Using color, design and shape, Ubuhlalu is a messaging system and vast and ageless medium that represents and records sacred and secular bonds in history. These records include kingdoms/lineage, clans, economic/political/military institutions, age societies, healing systems, social hierarchy and momentous event(s).


Bead count: Approx 12,000

MKHAYA

In traditional Nguni/Zulu society it is understood that we all descend from a single ancestor, Nsondo, who Himself descended from a star in heaven.  Hence, we are AmaZulu/Abantu AbaseZulu or People Who Dawn from the Sky/Heavens. We are Mkhaya or "family member". Mkhaya refers to beadwork accentuated by large, indigenous handcrafted beads from various African nations.

Medium (pictured here): Glass Beads, Zimbabwean Copper, Ghanian Krobo Beads             

T H E  C O L L E C T I O N

UBUHLALU: ETYMOLOGY, COSMOLOGY AND "THE NAMING"  BY  Z O L A   D U B E