African Art Part 6 – South Africa

Today I am featuring South Africa in my final post in this African Art series. South Africa is our home country and we have toured it extensively and visited many of its uniquely beautiful attractions. Our recent trip to Mpumalanga resulted in a new appreciation of some of the local artwork which is available at all of the tourist attractions.


I bought this beaded doll when we stopped at God’s Window. It is different from the Zimbabwean beaded artwork in that the underlying structure is made from wood and not wire and the beads are much smaller.

You can read about our recent holiday to Mpumalanga here:; and

A favourite December holiday destination of ours is Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg Mountains. There are numerous scenic mountain trails that you can hike along and reveal in the clean mountain air and breath-taking scenery.


I bought this porcupine and giraffe, made from local clay, at Monk’s Cowl. I really think they are to cute for words.

Once of my absolutely favourite African dolls is this hand made paper mache doll. This angel is a lamp and the light shines softly through her skirt. She was made and sold as part of a local campaign against women and child abuse.


Five facts about South Africa

  1. South Africa is home to the longest wine route in the world, the Cape Route 62 (or R62), which is about 1 000 kilometres long and beautifully scenic;
  2. South Africa is a treasure trove for archaeologists and palaeontologists as it has produced some of the world’s oldest and most valuable fossils to date;
  3. There are more than 1 500 species of plants on Table Mountain in Cape Town alone. This represents more floral species than the whole of the United Kingdom. You can read more about Table Mountain here:;
  4. South Africa hosts the largest individually-timed cycling race in the world, the Cape Argus, and the world’s largest ultra marathon, the Comrades; and
  5. South Africa has three capital cities? Pretoria is the administrative capital, Cape Town the legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.

If you are a foodie, you can read more about the delicious food that you can taste in Cape Town here:

Why The Cheetah has stained cheeks – a traditional Zulu folktale

Long ago a wicked and lazy hunter was sitting under a tree. He was thinking that it was too hot to be bothered with the arduous task of stalking prey through the bushes. Below him in the clearing on the grassy field there were fat springbok grazing. But this hunter couldn’t be bothered, so lazy was he! He gazed at the herd, wishing that he could have the meat without the work, when suddenly he noticed a movement off to the left of the buck. It was a female cheetah seeking food. Keeping downwind of the herd, she moved closer and closer to them. She singled out a springbok who had foolishly wandered away from the rest. Suddenly she gathered her long legs under her and sprang forward. With great speed she came upon the springbok and brought it down. Startled, the rest of the herd raced away as the cheetah quickly killed her prey.

The hunter watched as the cheetah dragged her prize to some shade on the edge of the clearing. There three beautiful cheetah cubs were waiting there for her. The lazy hunter was filled with envy for the cubs and wished that he could have such a good hunter provide for him. Imagine dining on delicious meat every day without having to do the actual hunting! Then he had a wicked idea. He decided that he would steal one of the cheetah cubs and train it to hunt for him. He decided to wait until the mother cheetah went to the waterhole late in the afternoon to make his move. He smiled to himself.

When the sun began to set, the cheetah left her cubs concealed in a bush and set off to the waterhole. Quickly the hunter grabbed his spear and trotted down to the bushes where the cubs were hidden. There he found the three cubs, still to young to be frightened of him or to run away. He first chose one, then decided upon another, and then changed his mind again. Finally he stole them all, thinking to himself that three cheetahs would undoubtedly be better than one.

When their mother returned half-an-hour later and found her babies gone, she was broken-hearted. The poor mother cheetah cried and cried until her tears made dark stains down her cheeks. She wept all night and into the next day. She cried so loudly that she was heard by an old man who came to see what the noise was all about.

Now this old man was wise and knew the ways of the animals. When he discovered what the wicked hunter had done, he became very angry. The lazy hunter was not only a thief, he had broken the traditions of the tribe. Everyone knew that a hunter must use only his own strength and skill. Any other way of hunting was surely a dishonor.

The old man returned to the village and told the elders what has happened. The villagers became angry. They found the lazy hunter and drove him away from the village. The old man took the three cheetah cubs back to their grateful mother. But the long weeping of the mother cheetah stained her face forever. Today the cheetah wears the tearstains on its face as a reminder to the hunters that it is not honorable to hunt in any other way than that which is traditional.

You can read more free African animal folktales here:

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town

44 thoughts on “African Art Part 6 – South Africa

  1. Wonderful as always Robbie.. I had a beautifully carved giraffe that I treasured for many years but I passed it on to a child who had never been to Africa and was fascinated by it..loved the cheetah story… and could see that with Sir Chocolate coming to the rescue.. fondant cheetahs.. that would be a birthday cake and some.. hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely and informative post, Robbie. I have a few wooden pieces of African giraffe art in my collection that I cherish as they were given as gifts from students. Your pieces are wonderful as are the stories that go with them. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful art from your wonderful country. I know it is a mistake to believe any cultures stays frozen in time but some of the stories you tell from the countries in Africa feel truly ancient, maybe by virtue of some of the indigenous peoples being determined enough to have preserved their culture, despite many adversities. I love these stories they are magical and feel rooted in deep time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Robbie. I love the clay porcupine and giraffe, you are right – they are too cute for words. I almost cried myself when I read the story or the cheetah and her stolen cubs. It is true that the mother cheetah does cry loudly when she is searching for her cubs. I have heard and seen them looking for cubs that they have hidden, on my visits to KNP.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another wonderful post, Robbie. You have afforded me of some history of Africa that I probably would have never known. I too like the angel light, I can picture its soft glow. Never knew the story about the Cheeta’s, until now thanks to you.
    I am also sorry this is late in the posting, but, I have been busy with grandchildren. Thank you for sharing. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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