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Pulled from the earth
Formed by my hands
Put through the fire
Slab & pinched work
Fired naked to 1280C
Size and colour may vary
I had a dream after building this pot
In my dream the word Nama was spoken to me over and over again.
I recall nothing else of that dream except someone repeating Nama Nama Nama Nama.
As a child I often asked my mother ”mommy, how come we don’t have a culture?”.
You see I grew up in Cape Town on the Cape Flats in Apartheid South Africa and I understood that coloured was a name given to people who looked like me and black was a name given to people who looked darker than me. But the black people kept their name of Xhosa and their language alive amongst themselves. So I wondered what my culture was and what language I should be speaking.
This question stayed with me my whole life until I started pottery in 2019 and that dream came to me.
I asked my mum and family if they knew what Nama meant. They didn’t. Time went by, I worked on another pot which was standing on the shelf waiting to be decorated. When that pot was done, the decoration reminded me of a Namaqualand landscape, a place in South Africa. After a while, something clicked, Nama. Namaqua. Namibia.
So I researched online and discovered the history of the Nama people in Namibia. Later I discovered that there are Nama people in South Africa too as well as !Xam !Kung and other groups who are all KhoiKhoi people. These are the people who the Europeans met when they first arrived in the Cape in 1652. These were the people who were colonised, forced to assimilate, displaced and ”erased”. Today many of these people still live on the Cape Flats in Cape Town.
Sometimes our art and dreams can give us the answers we were searching for…