Our Sacred Ocean
The ocean is a sacred place of ancestral wisdom and rituals for the communities of Hamburg and Bodium in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. For more than four centuries, the Xhosa people have relied upon the sea for their spiritual and physical wellbeing.
Deeply revered customary practices are inherently linked to the ocean. Seawater is used by sangomas (traditional healers) to heal illnesses caused by contact with impure objects or events, neglect of the ancestors or witchcraft. Bathing in the sea cleanses the body, washes away bad luck and invites prosperity and success.
The Keiskamma Art Project’s monumental tapestry Our Sacred Ocean spans generations in its collection of stories, memories and practices. Combining the techniques of embroidery and appliqué, the tapestry incorporates materials such as cotton, felt, beads and wool. A boarder of text contains quotes from a recent High Court case that successfully set aside destructive oil and gas exploration rights granted to Shell.
Veronica Betani, Nozolile Gedze, Micheala Howse, Fikiswa Madlingozi, Nomfundo Makhubalo, Nozeti Makhubalo, Ndileka Mapuma, Thandazwa Mqali, Cebo Mvubu, Nokhanyiso Nompunga, Nompumelelo Nompunga, Nombulelo Paliso, Zukiswa Sikani, Vivian Solwandle, Nandipha Yona