In the gallery below you will see images of children beading (working).....to the Western viewer, this may seem alarming so much so that we sometimes receive criticism?
This criticism is largely based on naivety from 1st world parents whose children go to private schools, have 3 meals a day, and wear the latest fashions..... compared to the very real poverty of African children growing up in rural areas who have to worry about where their next meal is coming from if at all.

We could also choose not to show these children "working" but this would leave out a significant element from the Zulu beadwork story.....in Zulu culture this is perfectly normal, these children are working within their family environment with the parental supervision of mothers and grandmothers who pass down these traditional beading skills. 

When there is work available everyone in the family gets involved - work means money and money means food and clothing for the whole family. Zulu children go to school and have happy lives playing with their friends but unlike western kids, they do not have luxuries like PlayStations, mobile phones, and cable TV....they instead help out with work when needed as they fully understand the poverty without work. 

The below excerpt is from Nelson Mandela's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom:
"I was no more than five when I became a herd-boy, looking after sheep and calves in the fields. I discovered the almost mystical attachment that the Xhosa have for cattle, not only as a source of food and wealth but as a blessing from God and a source of happiness".

EARTH AFRICA personally knows all the parents and children shown in these images.




Please also see our NEW Youtube video featuring the largest collection of Zulu Beaded Earrings in South Africa.