Nyenganyenga Craft and Design, Ann Macdonald Ann Macdonald   Photograph by Aron Mazel

Nyenganyenga Craft and Design, where south meets north  Nyenganyenga Craft and Design nyenganyenga, barn swallow

                                        where south meets north

Nyenganyenga  /nyenga nyenga/ is the Shona word for a swallow, that canny little bird that lives in perpetual summer, in the northern and southern hemispheres.

My name is Ann Macdonald, and I live in Northumberland. While I have settled well in ‘the best county’ in England (shhh … it’s a secret), I have deep visual roots in southern Africa. So my heart and mind occupy both hemispheres; hence my affinity with swallows.

Shweshwe homeware

shweshwe homeware, nyenganyengaIn the 1980s,  I wore  shweshwe  /shwe shwe/ cotton fabric because it symbolized resistance to apartheid. I lived in  jeans and indigo or brown shweshwe dresses and dungarees.   My interest in shweshwe and its multiple meanings and long history has not worn out with my clothes. So here I bring you useful homeware made from  the new celebratory Three Cats  shweshwe  fabric that has emerged since the achievement of democracy in South Africa.

Zimbabwean Baskets

Baskets from Zimbabwe, African baskets, supporting women in ZimbabweWhen visiting Zimbabwe a little while ago, I bought a range of very beautiful African baskets from women who use their skills and resources to get cash for food, clothes and school fees.   Four different basket styles drew my eye:

  • Zienzele sisal baskets
  • Buhera vine baskets
  • Tonga ilala palm baskets, and
  • Bulawayo baskets.

Each type of basket has a different story and their narratives are as interesting as the baskets are beautiful.


I am in a business partnership with my daughter, Nicola Mazel.  Nicola is a talented painter and has explored colour in depth. She attended the Glasgow School of Art and although she is not practising as a full time artist, she has a beautiful body of work. To see her work, visit:  https://nicolamazelartndesign.com/


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