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Remembering Mandela

A very special moment with Nelson Mandela looking at one of my books “Quilts and Quilting in South Africa” at my home in Orchards, Johannesburg on the 1st August 1992.

I was hosting an Embroidery and Quilting Exhibition of the work created by a group of teachers I had trained and their students’ work. It was late afternoon on the Saturday and Madiba was taking a stroll in Orchards. One of my special embroidery friends greeted him and he asked if he could come and see the work. He spent more than an hour and a half chatting to the students and teachers. We spoke at length about the storehouse of talent in South Africa and he was very excited about the idea of building bridges within South Africa and internationally by encouraging the creative arts. I explained that many women could embroider and quilt at home while their children were small and sell their handwork at markets, to the fashion industry and interior design shops. The scope was and continues to be huge. My journey with the needle over the past 20 years has taken me to many countries where I have worked with all nationalities. I meet up with my daughter and embroidery partner Nikki who is based in Hong Hong at the moment. We teach worldwide, swop anecdotes and celebrate our rainbow nation with the students while they stitch. May the thread that binds us continue to build the bridges of a true democracy!

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