Hlengiwe Dube is a South African artist who specializes in beadwork and telephone wire baskets and a field worker who travels into rural areas to train remote artists. Dube was born in New Hanover in 1974 and moved to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, KwaZulu-Natal at the age of nine.
As a child she watched her grandmother doing beadwork but was told she was “too young” to try. Instead, she decided to do it in secret. As she wanted to bead as well as her grandmother she worked hard and soon her grandmother was very impressed and proud. of her. The first beaded item she sold was a Zulu Love Letter at the age of twelve. The buyer was the African Art Centre and this piece now resides in their permanent collection at the Killie Campbell Museum in Durban, South Africa. Her vast knowledge of Zulu beading history and technique is drawn from her extensive experience and travels meeting with women throughout KwaZulu-Natal, and from working with her mother and grandmother in her early years.
One of the great resources of Zulu beading history and technique, Dube generously shares her knowledge with students, museum staff and collectors. Dube is gifted as an educator - matched by her talent as a contemporary artist. She is the author of Zulu Beadwork – Talk with Beads recounting the history of beaded messages and has one many awards including : Woman of the year 2000 under Art and Culture sponsored by SABC3 and Checkers, Cosmopolitan Mover 2001 Finalist, Mayor’s Award 2000: Achievement in Business, Sunday Tribune Award 2002, Amafa Heritage Award 2012 and Living Legends 2012. Dube has exhibited beadwork and wirework all over South Africa, in Australia, Germany, USA, France and Brazil, and has taught beading workshops all over the world.
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