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Xhosas [I]

Xhosas [I]

I have always been fascinated by the color, with which the Xhosas paint their houses.


And it is that the circular design of these typical traditional houses continues to spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with small differences attached to the geographical and cultural possibilities typical of each ethnic group.


In the case of the houses in my photograph, belonging to people of the Xhosa ethnic group in South Africa, the painting, beyond being an aesthetic matter, fulfills the function of waterproofing the mud walls that are worn away by the rains. Reason why, depending on the direction of the wind, some walls tend to be more worn than others.


The rubber that you can see on the roofs of houses, which in turn they fill with dirt, plants, seashells and shiny objects, serves various functions ranging from the utilitarian to the superstitious.


On the one hand, it works as a connector for the straws they use to make the roof, preventing the wind from blowing them away and water entering through the middle, and on the other, as the Xhosas believe that it is bad luck that Certain types of birds perch on the roof of their houses, the rubber and objects that they place inside fulfill the function of preventing them from doing so.


In turn, in the photograph you can see three structures belonging to the same family group: two circular ones that they use to sleep, store their belongings and cook respectively, and a square one with a septic tank that they use to go to the bathroom.


Finally, I comment that the great hero for the South African freedom struggle, Nelson Mandela, belonged to this same ethnic group and was born and lived his childhood a few kilometers from where I took this photograph.


What you see is certainly a true picture of the early years of someone who would inspire millions of people, and who would change the course of history.


* In the referential mockup you are looking at images I, V and VI in case you want to acquire the suggested series.

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