MY BEAUTIFUL HOME PROJECT
Painted huts competition to support the Matobo Villages and preserve traditions
A group of 3 non-profit organizations in partnership
Genesis and History
It all started during a few hikes in the beautiful granite rocks of the Matopos, South of Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe. Walking off from the main paths, adventuring, you could encounter a few traditional homesteads, some seasonal and abandoned for the time being, some filled with the laughs of children.
On one house, one could still read welcoming words together with a flower.
On another, a more elaborate design representing the surrounding hills and on others, there were flowers or geometrical designs.
It was captivating, the love and pride the villagers were showing in representing mother Nature on their mud walls, as well as their happiness and kindness despite extreme poverty… These designs, made with all shades of ocre clays, white ashes and black charcoal, would fade away slowly during the rainy season, like sand castles. New designs would be created during the following dry season…
There was a strong feeling of being part of the same human soul, through the universal language of art.
With very little means and a great amount of work, some had the ability to create the most enviable and beautiful homes…
True admiration and gratitude triggered the idea of a competition to encourage this wonderful but fading tradition.
With two other enthusiastic associates, Pathisa Nyathi and John Knight, the first competition was quickly launched.
We had 30 entrants in August 2014
The following year, 2015, due to the success of the previous year, we had 250 entrants. The competition had provided not only useful donations from local companies but also recognition from the rewarded families and the rural community in general.
In the year 2016, over 400 entrants…
Unfortunately, no competition could be organized in 2017
This year 2018, we have had 204 participants
Vision and Perspectives
We aim to help the local people prove that tradition and comfortable living can go together.
We think that the Matopos way of life could become an alternative to the modern industrial and urban life, without giving up on modern improvements and high technology and offer respite from the frenetic world. Small scale farming, independence, self sufficiency , there is a return to this.
Therefore, basic modern needs should become accessible in a land where no electricity is found and water is scarce. Infact, Peggy Masuku’s husband, a grower of mango, lemon trees, established his garden by walking 2,5 hours with his wheel barrow to collect water for his young trees. A new diviner, he has now dug his well.
Solar power, access to internet and ingenious ways to collect rain water, and keep it, are nowadays possible and should make life easier and more appealing to the young generation.
These types of practical prizes are made available.
Developing a small eco-tourism, if done in a proper way, would also contribute to improve the quality of life of the owners of the visited homes, as well a s developing mutual understanding and respect between different cultures.
There is already a growing demand for riding or hiking tours to meet local people in the Matopos.
Veronique Attala, Ekhaya Gaia, chairwoman
Clifford Zulu, vice chairwoman, National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Pathisa Nyathi, Amagugu Cultural Center, historian and writer
Shuna Herscovitz, Beautiful Bulawayo, Heal the World
Lewis Ndlovu, Drums of Peace, artist
Talent Kapadza, artist
Adam Herscovitz, Quality Foods, photographer
Some of the many Articles in the press
-01/2018, High Life South Africa in-flight magazine of Comair airline (see attached document)
-2015 Zimartist (see attached document)
-10/2015 Zambezi Traveller
-10/2015 Ayiba magazine
-09/2015 Design Indaba magazine
-06/2015 Zambezi Traveller http://www.zambezitraveller.com/bulawayo/culture/beautiful-matobo-homes
-08/2014 Southern Eye (see attached document)