Ndebele beaded apron Jocolo
This beaded apron is a work from the Ndebele. The Ndebele are Nguni-speaking people who were dispersed during the Zulu wars and came to live among Sotho-speaking people.
This kind of apron is called Jocolo. The jocolo is distinguished by five panels on the lower section with a number of smaller tabs to denote the number of the wife and therefore her status. As this one has no tabs, this is an apron for a first wife. It is worn by the bride on wedding day. A complete bridal costume includes a beaded headband with a beaded front wedding veil (siyaya), a beaded blanket (orare), the bridal cloak, and a beaded bridal stick. A Jocolo apron would be changed for a mapoto apron when the married woman would have her first child.
The amount of work and time that has gone into producing this is staggering. As you can see from the photos, the sheep / goat skin backing has had a couple of small patches, probably to repair tears made during the scraping and curing process. The Apron measures 55cm high and 36cm wide.