South African, 20th century, male.
Born 1943, in Hlabisa area, Natal (KwaZulu-Natal); died 2007.
Reuben Ndwandwe lived in the Hlabisa area of KwaZulu-Natal. He was taught to weave at the Mahashini Primary School under the apartheid regime, when such crafts were compulsory for black students. In pre-industrial South Africa, most basket weaving was done by men. By the early 20th century, due to the migrant labour system and the availability of plastic and metal containers, this activity had all but died out. In the 1950s, missionary organisations supported a revival of the craft in KwaZulu-Natal as a means to economic upliftment, especially for women. Ndwandwe was encouraged to pursue basket weaving during a long convalescence in hospital. He was one of the few men pursuing the craft in the second half of the 20th century and was renowned for his immaculately woven lidded baskets with intricate over-weaving and subtle colours....