| "In 1994's election, I worked
as a voting officer, checking identification. Everybody hoped that many
things would be different after the election. We do have a lot of change.
We can create jobs for ourselves, working at anything. Now we can organize
ourselves, have our own projects...which gives us power, light and strength."
Dinah is a diminutive woman with gigantic ideas. When we first met, we discussed our practice of compensating the women we interview so they do not lose money by talking instead of working. I asked her what would be fair pay for an Ndebele woman.
She fell silent. Finally, she asked
us not to pay individuals, but to open a bank account that could be used
by all the bead women to buy raw materials.
|| It used to be that a Zulu woman remained a minor
throughout her life, always under the guardianship of a man-her father,
husband, uncle, or even eldest son---and did not work outside the home.
Now Irene has her husband's permission to hold a job, at least until he
finds one and maybe even longer.|
Money is important to Irene, who is proud of the fact that her husband paid twelve calves as her bride price---"plus one extra because my father argued that I was his favorite daughter." Our local interpreter tells us that an average calf is worth
|one hundred thirty-five dollars, and that thirteen
calves is the going rate for a fertile woman under thirty. "Sons are seen
as the strength of the nation, but daughters are seen as the strength of
As the strength of the family, Irene earns a salary from Dumazulu Resort and additional income from selling her demonstration baskets at the resort's gift shop. Her income is all the money that she, her three sons, and three daughters have to live on during her husband's absence. He is a pipefitter, looking for work in Newcastle, over three hours away.
© Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle 2003-2009