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Jabulile Nala

Zulu ceramics play a central role in traditional Zulu ceremonies. Jabulile Nala, from rural Oyaya KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, learned directly from her grandmother, Siphiwe, and her mother, Nesta Nala. Nesta became world renowned for her exceptional skill and artistry. Jabulile Nala, along with her sisters Thembi and Bongi, continue in the family’s esteemed tradition.

South Africa is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, diverse population, and complex history. It’s understandable that a region so diverse and culturally rich is home to master artists like Jabulile Nala. Female potters of South Africa have been renowned for their skill for over 2,000 years. Nala carries on a rich tradition of pottery-making, infusing classic shapes and designs with her own unique touches. Her family has been regarded as masters of the art form for several generations.

Nala’s ceramics achieve their unique appearance thanks to an open firing technique, the oldest means of firing pottery in the world, with the first known examples of the practice dating back to between 29,000 and 25,000 BC.

Nala decorates her pottery in a uniquely contemporary style. A pattern, for example, might include raised areas of geometric embellishments that mimic the scarred body decorations which adorned Zulu warriors in generations past. Nala’s keen design sense and superior skill have earned her national and international acclaim, as well as fans around the world.

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