An Afternoon in Swaziland

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Last December, I had the pleasure of showing my dear friend Kim around my birthplace, Swaziland, a small country in Southern Africa. We stopped by Malandelas, a restaurant in Malkerns that shares the property of House on Fire, an artist community and concert space. My hope was to build a table that embodied the beauty of Swaziland, each component representing a different aspect of Swazi life. As a lush mountainous country, the landscape is picturesque. Swazi people are beautiful, kind and happy. Their genuine joy is infectious, almost perfectly matched by the colorful native flowers that bloom in Summer. 

The oil lamp style lanterns represent the heavy use of candlelight and oil lanterns in many Swazi homes without electricity. The woven placemats represent the important of grass in Swazi culture. From grass roofs, to grass mats to sit on, grass is an integral part of traditional Swazi life. The chairs ere woven by a local man using local grasses as well.  The glasses were filled with Sebebe beer, the national beer of Swaziland. The gold flatware represented the rich mineral content of the soil. To represent the bountiful red soil I chose Ricoterres handmade terra-cotta candle holders. 

With the exception of the beautiful vibrant bougainvillea, our entire table was made from native flowers and grasses we foraged at Milwane. Fruits such as lychee and Papaya are popular and commonly grown in Swazi households. We displayed them in woven baskets commonly made by Grandmothers. 

The Swazi meal made by Malandelas represents the most cherished Swazi foods. Corn is a main staple of Swazi diet and it dried and ground into a meal made into a thick porridge like substance called “pap.” This is used to dip into the oxtail soup, with cooked greens and colorful potatoes on the side. The bright "peri-peri" sauce gives it all a kick!

To read more about Swaziland, pick up the latest issue of Flutter Mag in Barnes and Noble or on the website.| 

Photo: Tyme Photography |  Location: Malandelas |  Linen: La Tavola Linen |  Tabletop Baskets & Chargers: Gone Rural |  Silverware: Theoni Collection | Candles: Creative Candles | Styling & Floral: Joy Proctor Design  | Bee Hive Huts: Milwane Sanctuary