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  • Man's Back Tie
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Beaded Panel

Beaded Panel (isibebe)

Zandile Ma Ndlovu Dube
South African
Beaded Panel (isibebe)
1969
Glass beads
Museum Purchase with Harn General Program Endowment Funds
2007.27.12

This beaded panel necklace (isibebe) is the first in a series made by a Zulu woman, Zandile Ma Ndlovu Dube, during her engagement period in 1969. It bears the message “jabula wethu” which translates literally as “be happy our.” It is a shortened version of a sentence reading “You are happy because I love you.” The colors refer to an older color sequence of white-red-black and dark blue that was known as the idiomatic phrase, “My heart is pure and I love you, but the future is full of problems, I have informed my neighbor that things are not going well.” Such a declaration on the part of the man means his proposal is accepted by the woman and that the long process of marital negotiations between him and the woman’s family have officially begun.

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