The Siyazama Project: A Traditional Beadwork and AIDS Intervention Program.

  • Wells K
  • Sienaert E
  • Conolly J
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This article offers an account of the origin and development of the Siyazama Project, both as a design communication and AIDS intervention program among the Zulu women of rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The beadwork designs of the rural women of KwaZulu-Natal successfully transcend accepted traditional modes and norms, and challenge socio-cultural, health, and economic issues that threaten their lives and the lives of their families and communities. Thus, the Siyazama project has changed and is changing the self-and community image of those most affected by the AIDS pandemic. South Africa has 4.2 million infected people, amounting to more than ten percent of the population. People aged between 20- and 44-years-old are the most vulnerable. KwaZulu- Natal has the highest infection rate of all nine provinces in South Africa, an observation based on rural and peri-urban women attending antenatal clinics in KwaZulu-Natal. Historically, the beadwork of KwaZulu-Natal took the form of linear syntax or single beaded strands until a new form--beadfabric--was developed. This is symbolically significant because it allowed the development of geometrical patterning primarily based on a triangular representation of the father, mother and child. The best known example of beadfabric is the ibique or loveletter, a popular souvenir with tourists visiting Durban.

Author-supplied keywords

  • AIDS (Disease)
  • KWAZULU-Natal (South Africa)
  • MANNERS & customs
  • PUBLIC health
  • SOUTH Africa
  • WOMEN -- Social conditions

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  • Kate Wells

  • Edgard Sienaert

  • Joan Conolly

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