Material Matters

Appliqués by the Weya women of Zimbabwe and needlework by South African collectives

Brenda Schmahmann



Women’s art cooperatives are fairly common in southern Africa, usually begun as income-generating enterprises for rural women who otherwise are subsistence farmers. The Weya Community Training Centre in Zimbabwe is one of the best known and most successful of these cooperatives, and the story of the Weya women is the centerpiece of this book. Complimenting the Weya story are reports on five South African women’s cooperatives.


The book provides a lasting record of an extraordinary exhibition and offers insights into the work which will be of interest not only to researchers, teachers and students of Southern African art but also to people interested in gender studies.


Brenda Schmahmann is head of Department and Professor of Fine Arts at Rhodes University,