When we where creating this exciting range, it's aim was to create a print that had a story behind it not just any story but the kind of story you can tell around the fireside to young and old. I remember the times I would sit around the same fireside, when Mamma Sibekho would get the fat cooking for her farm soap that she would make once a year and we would together engrave the dates on, a fireside can really be anything it doesn't have to be at night, I wanted it to remind me of the ones just like my fireside stories with Mamma Sibekho during the day, about the Thokoloshe who would visit her house at night, making such a noise that she couldn't get to sleep and the time her husband Jabu had to take out the shjambok to scare it away and how the Thokoloshe revealed himself in the corner, she described him as a small scrawny creature covered in white paint, too scared to move and then in the next moment gone! Until this day I still envision him in the way she described him to me on that day, this story has stayed with me and one I have passed on to my two boys sometimes I change it up a little and describe how the thokoloshe didn't have human teeth but the teeth of a wolf... I do often reminance about those precious moments spent with her and how much she taught me not just about "magic" but about life
I wanted to create this range with meaning, a textile that can be worn carrying a story along with it. We live in such a digital age where we are constantly looking at our phones not really interested in the people or things around us, let me ask you this "when was the last time you looked up at the sky?"
On journeys to the stores, I would wear my first sample of one of my scarves and a lady with a little girl complimented me on my scarf, and there it was it was my time to tell it's story- to share with them the inspiration, the imagery and the story of the folktale behind it.
Because it is not just any scarf it is one which tells a story one which connects us to others again, and one that little girl will go and tell her friends about. Now this, whomever is reading this is what I want to share with you when you wear a Asatsi piece, let's learn to connect again lets learn to celebrate the beautiful stories of Mamma Africa!
And here is the story: The Heart of Monkey
There grew a big tree on the seashore. Half of its branches were over the land and the other half over the water. A little Monkey lived in the tree. He played in the branches all day and when he was hungry, he ate the sweet fruit that grew in the tree. Now, in the sea there lived a Shark. One day the Monkey threw some of the fruit into the sea. The Shark ate it up. From that day on the Shark and the Monkey were friends and the Shark asked the monkey to throw some fruit down to him every day.
"Thank you, friend Monkey," said the Shark, "I have only fish to eat in the sea and I like your fruit very much."
The Monkey was happy to be a friend of the Shark and threw fruit into the sea every morning. Once, the Shark said to the Monkey, "You are so good to me that I want to do something good for you."
The Monkey looked down at the Shark and listened. The Shark said, "I want to show you my home. You will meet my brothers and sisters. You are so good to me that I think they will like you."
The Monkey thought a minute and said, "No, I don't want to go. Thank you. I am afraid of cold water. And I cannot swim. I shall be happier if I stay in my tree."
"Oh, no, no!" said the Shark. "Don't be afraid! Come with me. I shall carry you to my home on my back. I shall not swim very quickly."
The Monkey thought, "The day is very hot. It will be nice on the water. I think I'll go."
So the Monkey sat down on the Shark's back. And they went off.
At first the Monkey did not like going on the Shark's back, because the Shark swam very quickly. But soon he liked it and looked at the new places and at the fish in the water. It was so interesting!
"Do you like the sea?" asked the Shark. "Is the sea better than your forest?"
"Yes, it is. How far must we go?" asked the Monkey.
"It is not very far," the Shark answered. "And now I must tell you something. Our chief, the biggest shark in the sea, is very ill. Our doctor said to him, 'You must eat a monkey's heart. Then you will be well again.'
So I am taking you to him and I am telling it to you, because you are my friend."
The poor Monkey was ready to cry. But he did not cry. The Monkey thought of a plan to save himself. Then he said, "How silly you are! Why didn't you tell me that before? I have no heart with me. It is at home, in the branches of a big tree. We Monkeys always hide our hearts in the branches of big trees in the daytime. We take out hearts only at night. What will you do if your chief finds that I have no heart? How angry he will be? I am ready to give my heart to your chief, because I am your friend. But how can I do that when I have no heart with me?"
The Shark asked the Monkey, "If I take you back to your tree, will you go and get your heart?"
"Of course, I will. And let us go quickly. Your dear chief must not wait!"
The Shark with the Monkey swam back very quickly. They came again to the big tree. The Monkey climbed up the tree saying, "Wait for me! Wait for me! I'll take my heart!"
But the monkey did not come back. The Shark was swimming and swimming in the water under the tree. Then he shouted, "Friend Monkey, where are you?"
There was no answer. The Shark thought, "I am afraid he can't find the heart in the branches!"
The Shark waited and waited for the Monkey. Then he shouted again, "Monkey? Monkey? When will you come back to me?"
Again there was no answer. Then the Monkey began to laugh.
"Do you think I am a fool?" asked the little Monkey. "Do you think I want to give my heart to your big bad chief and then die?"
"But you said your heart was in the branches of the tree," said the silly Shark.
"My heart is in its place in my body. It is always there!" shouted the Monkey. "And you go away! We are not friends any more!"
And with these words the clever Monkey threw a big rotten fruit on the Shark's nose.
If you look at our African Folklore Monkey print scarve, you will see all the elements of this wonderful folktale combined, from the heart to the fruits, a wonderful piece with a story to tell and share!