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Written by Jannie van Heerden, Helene Smuts and Chonat Getz
Edited by Helene Smuts
Jannie van Heerden has been supporting craft makers in rural KZN in marketing their work for fifteen years. He is a respected academic authority on Zulu basket weaving and is currently Deputy Chief Education Specialist in Visual Arts and Design for the KwaZulu Natal Department of Education.
Dr Chonat Getz, who was professor in Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand up to 2003, has been researching and publishing for some time on examples of southern African weaving and beadwork in terms of the mathematical conclusions contained in their design. She is currently studying Fine Arts.
Museum education specialist and Visual Arts educator, writer and publisher Helene Smuts is Director of the Africa meets Africa Project.
This educator’s resource book, and the video/DVD that accompanies it, explores the Zulu cultural tradition through beautifully crafted objects of everyday use, as well as the general mathematical conclusions contained in their refined form and decorative design.
The resource was written for educators in Arts and Culture (GETC Phase) Visual Arts and Design (FETC) and Mathematics from Grade 7 to 12. It includes a 56 page resource book in full colour and a 90 minute film (available in DVD and on video cassette ).
The first half of the book, and part 1 of the video/DVD, focuses on the historic context and subsequent development of styles and techniques of making. In the second half of the book we explore Zulu design by learning how to think mathematically about particular examples. We discover that because of the integrity of their design, general mathematical conclusions can be recognised in and taught with particular pieces of beadwork, pots and woven baskets. In doing so we offer educators and learners from Grade 7 to 12 a familiar context within which to explore visually, mathematical ideas on numbers, tessellations and symmetry. Part 3 of the film explores how, through various entrepreneurial initiatives, the indigenous knowledge contained in the objects - the ideas and design knowledge that generated them - are finding a place within the free market system.
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