Grade 3 – Ndebele beaded dolls


The idea behind the first term was to loosely base the grade 3 lessons around African art. In South Africa we have a people group known as the Ndebele. During the Apartheid they were not allowed to communicate in ways they did before. In response to this, the Ndebele developed a way of using beautifully crafted designs, both on the decoration of their abodes and in their bead work to communicate amongst themselves. In this coded, secret language, the colors, and the shapes used, all combined to tell of events (such as marriages), emotions as well as personal prayers.

popklkraleThough this tradition continues in many townships and villages, the artwork is often now sold in craft markets.  They make and sell beaded bracelets and beaded dolls that have a specific meaning.

Made by a learner who is from Korea.
Made by a learner who is from Korea.

After a small introduction to the rich history of these dolls, our grade 3 learners were set to creating their own 2D doll! The learners were not confined by the style of the Ndebele dolls but, after being inspired by them, could depart to follow wherever their imagination would lead them.

A boy who asked to make a boy doll
A boy who asked to make a boy doll

The learners began with an A3 piece of white paper. On this they drew the outlines of the dolls in pencil. They then went over these in black Koki. Finally colouring it in using Kokis. This was then cut out. 2 pieces of coloured sugar paper were given to the learners. From the first, they cut out a background. I suggested that they do two other doll silhouettes but this soon became any cool background that they desired! This they stuck on the second coloured piece of sugar paper before pasting the doll on the top.


Though the process is labourious and does take a while, the end result is well worth it!



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