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Missionaries not only introduced friends and visitors to their endless projects...! We also enjoy showing them the particular gifts with which God has blessed the people.
Last week some friends from Germany who regularly visit South Africa, came to stay with me in Swaziland for a couple of days. I had been very clear. "This is not about projects!".
The time was very limited so I had to plan the time carefully.
We started in the morning at "Swazi Candles". I have always passed outside the place but never had a chance to visit it (www.swazicandles.com)
It was beautiful and our visitors did enjoy the visit (they bought quite a number of candles). There were candles in all shapes, colours and sizes: geometric, animals, birds, fruits... Some just for decoration.The highly decorative Swazi Candles are hand-made in the small African Kingdom of Swaziland using the age-old technique "millefiore".Millefiore, or "thousand flowers", first surfaced in ancient Alexandria, but was perfected in the great glassmaking cities of Murano and Venice. Glass beads and other objects created there were of such beauty and finesse that they became much sought-after and valuable artefacts.
The next step was "Mantenga Cultural Village". I had been there before. One could stay there a long time but "our time" was limited. We arrived just in time for the 45 minute session of songs and dances and then moved to the 15 minute "practical" introduction to the Swazi culture.
We could have stayed longer and enjoy the landscape and the falls but there was still one more place to visit: "Ngwenya Glass". This is not only a shop where one could buy Swazi glass products but the chance to visit "at a distance" the factory where these things are made.
Amongst the mountains that encircle the tiny African Kingdom of Swaziland is one that resembles a basking crocodile. At its summit is the world's most ancient iron ore mine, dating back 43 000 years and at its foot is the remote village - NGWENYA- (Siswati name for "crocodile"). Here a small group of Swazi craftsmen and women - with age old artistry - breath life into enchanting interpretations of the animals and birds of Africa, imbuing each with its own irresistible personality. Witness first-hand the magical art of glassblowing from an overhead balcony. Each item handmade from 100 % recycled glass !
The reason why Ngwenya Glass is so special is that only re-cycled glass is used - mainly old cool drink bottles, and that each and every piece is totally handmade and mouth blown. People from all over Swaziland collect bottles and are paid per kilo for clean glass. Ngwenya must be the cleanest area because any bottle that catches the children ' s attention finds its way into the factory!