Old Bhaca apron (isipinofa)
The Bhaca, Nguni speakerswho are closely related to the Zulu and live next door to them, are superb beadworkers and much of their beadwork has been influenced by Zulu design and aesthetics. The Zulus and related tribes like the Bhaca wore layers of fabric aprons with beaded decorations over their skirts. This old 1950s example is made from a discarded flannel diaper edged with a lacy beaded border. This is a genuine piece which has been in my private collection for more than 30 years. The Zulu name isipinofa is derived from the English word pinafore. Size 82 x 63 cm / 42 ¼ x 24 ¾ inches; beaded strip 63 x 9 cm/ 24 ¾ x 3 ½ inches.