Monkeybiz was started 13 years ago by Barbara Jackson. It is a non profit organization which focuses on women and creating sustainable employment through bead work. All profits from the sales of the artwork are given back to the women and their community.
Barbara Jackson had thought bead work had died because of apartheid and wanted to bring it back. Each Monkeybiz artwork is unique and each artist is recognized for their work.
I was surprised when Joan told us Monkeybiz did not receive any funding and
corporations do not take this business seriously. With 450 artists and free materials given out to the artists, I wondered how the business was able to be sustainable without funding.
Carrol Boyes, Jackson’s life partner, provides a building for Monkeybiz without rent. I was surprised that ABC Carpet & Home store in The United States was one of the bigger buyers of Monkeybiz products. I haven’t heard much about Americas involvement in South Africa now, so it was good to hear positive things about back home.
I think this business is remarkable. It provides women, many who are affected by HIV/AIDS, with the empowerment to better their lives through a consistent income. Most of the bead work is animals and is absolutely beautiful. They are colorful and truly unique; not one artwork looked the same.
The Slave Lodge
Oliver Tambo Exhibit
Oliver Tambo was one of my favorite anti-apartheid leaders we learned about in the course. I’m not sure why I was so infatuated by him, but I think it’s because of his ability to do so much while in exile. It was also one of the most upsetting parts to learn about. He did so much, but he was never able to vote and to see his friend, Nelson Mandela, become president before his death in 1994.
“I have devotedly watched over the organization all these years. I now hand it over to you: bigger, stronger — intact. Guard our precious movement!” – Oliver Tambo
There was also a lot of overlapping in this exhibit with what we had learned in class. Have You Heard From Johannesburg? actually played in the exhibit!
I often walk through museums and look at the pictures on the walls and don’t think much about it. When I took a step back in this museum, I realized that slaves were kept right where I was standing. Many of the places we have been in South Africa hold this to be true.
I was also taken aback at the thought that we had visited the place Nelson Mandela stayed and was captured at Liliesleaf. There is so much history in South Africa, and the fact that we are here visiting these places instead of learning about them in a classroom still amazes me.