Student Interpretation → Elise Carson
Ndebele and Ngwane Staffs
This staff was created by the Ngwane people of South Africa. Though it was created in the 20th century, when darker colors of beads became available, its creator chose to use bright colors instead. It is possible that the word “xola,” which is beaded near the crook of the staff, refers to hopes for peace within the marriage.
Wood, glass beads, fiber
Gift of Norma Canelas Roth and William D. Roth
By the mid-20th century, many accoutrements used in weddings and other festive ceremonies were adorned with beads. This beaded cane was possibly of Ngwane origin, however, the vivid colors are not characteristic of the area but have been adapted in the modern style, or isimodeni. Canes are carried by older men at wedding ceremonies in this region and in other regions are carried by young women in coming out ceremonies. The word “xola” spelled out in the green area means “sorry,” and may express some resistance to the marriage or an apology for some past transgression.