Michigan Quilt Project
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The Cuesta Benberry Quilt and Ephemera Collection

Maria Hlomuka
Soweto, South Africa
29" x 38"
MSU Museum Accession 2008:119.7, Gift of George Benberry
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

In 1986, a group of black South African quiltmakers who were members of the Zamani Soweto Sisters Council, were brought to England as part of a program to create a self-help group for impoverished and mistreated South African women. Cuesta was invited to be an instructor for the program and, while in England, purchased this quilt from Maria. After returning home, Cuesta began to give lectures on the patchwork quilts of the Zamani Soweto Sister Council and the anti-apartheid struggle.

From Cuesta, "I had written and become friends with Zamani prior to my meeting with them in London in 1986. I especially admired Maria Hlomuka because she was a poet as well as a creative quiltmaker. In London, I spent the most enjoyable three weeks with Zamani that I can remember. I bought the "Intombi Quilt" not only for its beauty but also to have a Maria Hlomuka work, a Zamani work, something unlike any other piece in the world."

By Mary Worrall, from the exhibit Unpacking Collections: the Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar

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