Voter and Kumtsha, San Bushmen guides, explain the cultural references behind the decor, procured by Sandi Albertson’s company Wild Artefacts.
The feathers of a guinea fowl, a bird synonymous with the Kalahari, was the initial design inspiration behind the interior scheme of Dinaka Lodge. Voter, a San Bushman working at the newly designed lodge, wears them as part of his head decoration as he explains to us: ‘They are for my disguise in the bush. You see I also have common Duiker horns within my hat. That is so if animals see me coming from behind the bushes, they only see the horns. The leather of my head decoration is Steenbok skin.’
It is these type of decorative crafts that Wild Artefacts, a company specialising in bringing work from remote communities, brought to Dinaka Lodge’s interior decor. Each piece rich in history and culture, capturing some part of the San Bushman way of life.
Voter tells us how the leather, used in many of their crafts, is prepared. ’First we catch and kill the Duiker, skin it and take the skin around the fire. Also, we add colour to help preserve the skin. You dig out the root of the brandy bush and peel the branches. You add it to water and this makes the skin browner. It keeps for longer because of the dye.’
OSTRICH EGG SHELLS
Kumtsha and Voter also wear a variety of ostrich egg shell artefacts on their headdresses. ‘The ostrich egg shell represents the Duiker eyes of my headdress and also the ears. They are for protection and for luck. We wear the ostrich egg shell as a bracelet and women wear the necklace to make them look very nice. You see these dark ostrich shells; this different colour is made by us putting them in a pan on the fire.’
The ostrich egg shell represents the Duiker eyes of my headdress and also the ears.
Wild Artefacts created for Dinaka Lodge a number of deep frames displaying San artists work, carved and burned into their traditional wooden spoons. Voter and Kumtsha tell us how they use these spoons to eat the blood of an animal after it has been left to go thicker. Spoons are also used for the ostrich eggs to eat the inside… ‘Very nice. ‘ Voter remarks again with a big smile.
Arrows are also displayed on the back wall of the lounge at Dinaka Lodge and we are told by Voter and Kumtsha that they are made from sorghum wood. ‘In the past we used wild sesame, which is even stronger than sorghum wood. Then the string of the bow is from the kudu tendon. You get the tendon from the back. The wood on the bow is made from the brandy bush also because of its strength and flexibility. ‘
Kumtsha and Voter discuss between themselves before translating for us, ‘You see the best thing is to kill is a big Eland, which is good for the whole family. When that happens, you dance all day and night in happiness. Like drums you see back at Dinaka Lodge, our drums are played and we are dancing to the ancestors and praying. ‘ The drums hanging in the bar at Dinaka Lodge are items made by San Bushman community and sold on by Wild Artefacts. These drums that were created for the lodge tell stories of the majestic local land and the hunting that is being described by our guides.
You see the best thing is to kill is a big Eland, which is good for the whole family. When that happens, you dance all day and night in happiness.
MORE ABOUT WILD ARTEFACTS
Wild Artefacts was started by Sandi Albertson more than 10 years ago. She discovered that the remote communities her husband has been involved with for 26 years in Northern Botswana needed more support in order to make a living from their traditional crafts. She found that by supplying people with materials, they were able to make and sell their traditional crafts. Her thinking was that if you can help enable livelihoods to be made from their current skills, then people are not forced to change ways of life in order to achieve an income.
Wild Artefacts is a passion and a way of life for Sandi. Contemporary artefacts traditionally made are available as well customised original pieces with a traditional feel - all made to order. Please contact her for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
N.B. The necklaces, leather pouches, arrows, spoons, drums and mosquito net ostrich egg shells at Dinaka lodge are all items sourced and displayed by Wild Artefacts