Allina Ndebele (nee Khumalo) was born on 10 December 1939 in Ekuhlengeni mission, on the Swart Mfolozi near Vryheid, Natal. Ndebele attended school in the Swart Mfolozi area where she obtained her Junior Certificate. In 1962 while she was still on the waiting list for nursing training at Ceza Hospital in Zululand, she was engaged as an interpreter for Peder and Ulla Gowenius, Swedish Missionaries who had been sent to South Africa to start a weaving workshop. She also assisted them as an unqualified occupational therapist and in her leisure time they taught her spinning, weaving and design. The Gowenius couple established the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre at Mapumulo in 1962 where Ndebele began formal studies. 

The following year, when the Centre moved to Rorke's Drift, Ndebele continued her studies there. In 1964, she received a scholarship to train in Sweden for a year as a teacher weaver. On her return to Rorke's Drift she completed her training and became a master weaver and for the next twelve years she directed the weaving workshop at Rorke's Drift. In December 1977, Ndebele returned to her father's village with her four children. Because of her teaching activities at Rorke's Drift she had been unable to do her own weaving. She now established a small workshop and began, with the help of neighbourhood women, to card, spin, dye and weave. On 27 September 2005, President Thabo Mbeki bestowed her with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for excellent contributions in the field of creative arts.


1985-7: PAM.

King George VI.

WHAG; Bloemfontein; Vryheid Library (solo).

1987-8: Sweden””tour (solo).



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