I was blessed to grow up being nurtured by the most beautiful Mama Africa imaginable. She had the grandest, larger than life soul, kindest, open face and generous smile with the whitest, brightest teeth.
Paulinah Dhlamini ( I called her Paw Paw) carried me on her back until I could walk. She taught me the simplicity of playing games with stones. We’d be lost in our “stone game” world for hours.
As I became a teenager she became my confidante and advisor. Her wisdom was so sound and without judgement.
She was ordained as a minister of her church but chose to remain on in her role of housekeeper to my family and “Mama- Africa” to my sister and I.
She was my consistent and constant port of call and guided me through all of my “firsts”! I was so privileged to grow up on my “mama Africa’s” back and view the world , from such a heightened perspective.
I hold Paw-Paw forever in my heart and am constantly reminded of her spark through many of the artisans I am now privileged to work with.
I’m so sad and sorry and ashamed that Paw-Paw lived through such degrading experiences in apartheid South Africa.
Like, Mandela, she endured these insults with a regal air of compassion and forgiveness.
My dedication to working with artisans is perhaps inspired as a tribute to my “Mama Africa”. She assured me that if we have the faith and courage to step into ourselves we will encounter tunnels of darkness and beyond that we will find our inner light.
It’s taken me a long time, but finally, I understand her words ..... Thank you Paw-Paw xx🌙