Weaving Cloths: Research Design in Contexts of Transformation

Heila Lotz-Sisitka


Africa is a place of many beautiful cloths. Bright, textured and varying, most are hand
woven. The threads are constructed using a variety of raw materials through the labour
of many people. The cloths are woven on many different (usually hand-made) weaving
looms, which shape the cloths which often carry cultural and symbolic significance
(Blauer, undated). Increasingly this enterprise is becoming highly mechanised in the
major textile producing centres in Africa, influenced by the importation of machines and
technologies produced elsewhere in the world. Labour processes change to managing the
machines instead of spinning, selecting and weaving the thread, a change which affects
the texture, quality, historical and cultural significance of the cloth.

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