Strong Women Look Beyond the Obvious

Ubuhle Beads

Thando Ntobela is meticulous in her beading. Her work is influenced by her emotions and her own spiritual journey. The motifs in her work have significance, most particularly, her circles, which represent each person’s circle of life. Her need to create these perfect circles and her attention to all detail make her Ndwangos masterpieces, reflecting spiritual growth and therapy. Her joy in creating works, that are at times simply beautiful with no deeper meaning, reflect a sense of humour, a reminder to laugh and to see joy in the seemingly mundane.

Acknowledged in 2013 at the Smithsonian as an International artist, at the opening of ‘Ubuhle Women; Beadwork and the art of Independence’, she continues to create work that astonishes her audience with both her perception of life and dedication to detail.

Genre: Craft

Format: Beadwork

Duration: 8 – 31 July 2021

Unfortunately we aren’t able to invite you to visit this exhibit in person. Instead, we will be capturing this exhibition as an immersive online 3D exhibition.



Thando Ntobela was born in Bizana in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, in 1979. She is Mpondo Xhosa and sister to Zandile and Ntombephi.

Nonhlakanipho Mndiyatha was born in 1972 near Bizana in the Eastern Cape. She is a distant relative of the Ntobela sisters. She was taught to bead by her grandmother and started working for Ubuhle in 2003 after meeting Induna and the community through a mutual friend.
Nonhlakanipho’s signature pattern is a white house which appears in nearly all of her works and which became the inspiration for the “clinic” you will see in The African Crucifixion. It is a traditional Xhosa rural house with white plastered walls and thatch roof.
Nonhlakanipho has decided to go back to the Transkei, she has built her own home. She continues to Brad Ndwango’s. She does farm vegetables which she is passionate about. These works are of her gardens in Summer