Kaross featured embroiderer for April: Elisa Manyama

Elisa Manyama (58), our featured embroiderer for April, is also the embroiderer of the second in our limited edition of five Lion Hunt cloths, a collection of 1x1.8m artworks designed by Ephas Mathebula.

Elisa is a woman who exemplifies the Afrikaans saying, “haar hande staan vir niks verkeerd nie”. This literally says that her hands cannot do wrong, and it signifies someone who is good with her hands and is industrious in her work.

Elisa has been embroidering for Kaross for 26 years

Besides being a very diligent and neat embroiderer who has worked for Kaross since 1990, she has also managed to raise seven children with her husband, Johannes Monareng, and is a keen farmer who loves to grow maize and beans in the fields next to her house. Not surprisingly, her favourite embroidery colours are those of the earth and the sky, ochre and royal blue.

Elisa is from the Pedi people (previously also known as the Northern Sotho) and lives in Nyagelane village with her family.  Her husband, Johannes, was employed at a dry cleaning business in Johannesburg for many years, but is now on pension.

Lion Hunt cloth by Ephas Mathebula and Elisa Manyama

Her large family keeps her busy with many other activities

Retirement is not something Elisa herself is considering very soon.

This is partly because, although the eldest of her seven children (Patric, Lassy, Lency, Loraine, Emma, Moses and Veronica) is already 37 years old, her youngest at 16 years is still in school, and as she says, “My work helps me a lot. I brought up my children with Kaross.”

But the other part seems to be the love of working with her hands - she loves embroidery, she loves farming, and she loves being able to do things for her family.

This month we at Kaross again salute Elisa – for her hard work, and for her beautiful embroidery, as is so evident in the Lion Hunt cloth she produced together with Ephas Mathebula.

Shop for works by Elisa and our other featured embroiderers here.