Linga Koba or “long tears” are first worn by a mother on the initiation of her oldest son, thereafter they are worn regularly as part of festive dress since they demonstrate the senior status of the wearer. The Linga Koba themselves are two narrow bead strips so long, they drag on the ground behind the woman as she walks. They are linked to each other by a headband and symbolize the tears of the mother, saddened by the loss of a son to manhood. Length: Each side is 4 cm / 1 ½ inches wide and 210 cm / 83 inches long.
Provenance: Thereare thousands of living Ndebele woman artists of great talent who will never be recognized, but I have a provenance for these Linga Koba. These Linga Koba were made by Mrs Lena Mytimunye of Pandina in the Transvaal. Mrs Mtimunye had no sons, and had to wait until her grandson was initiated to achieve the status of a mother of an initiated young man and wear the Linga Koba. These Linga Koba are made from recycled beads from the 1960s saved from ceremonial dress, as the colors testify, and were probably made in the late 1970s.