"In 1994's election, I worked as a voting officer, checking identification. Everybody hoped that many things would be different after the election. We do have a lot of change. We can create jobs for ourselves, working at anything. Now we can organize ourselves, have our own projects...which gives us power, light and strength."

Dinah is a diminutive woman with gigantic ideas. When we first met, we discussed our practice of compensating the women we interview so they do not lose money by talking instead of working. I asked her what would be fair pay for an Ndebele woman.

She fell silent. Finally, she asked us not to pay individuals, but to open a bank account that could be used by all the bead women to buy raw materials.

Months later, Dinah writes to us that the women now have a second bank account, this one funded by the membership fees of craftspeople in twenty-two villages whom they visited and organized. The groups' accounts total $2,600, enough money that many can borrow to buy the raw materials they need to create products-an opportunity that results from "power, light and strength."

View Journal Entry from Waterval, South Africa
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It used to be that a Zulu woman remained a minor throughout her life, always under the guardianship of a man-her father, husband, uncle, or even eldest son---and did not work outside the home. Now Irene has her husband's permission to hold a job, at least until he finds one and maybe even longer.

Money is important to Irene, who is proud of the fact that her husband paid twelve calves as her bride price---"plus one extra because my father argued that I was his favorite daughter." Our local interpreter tells us that an average calf is worth
  one hundred thirty-five dollars, and that thirteen calves is the going rate for a fertile woman under thirty. "Sons are seen as the strength of the nation, but daughters are seen as the strength of the family."

As the strength of the family, Irene earns a salary from Dumazulu Resort and additional income from selling her demonstration baskets at the resort's gift shop. Her income is all the money that she, her three sons, and three daughters have to live on during her husband's absence. He is a pipefitter, looking for work in Newcastle, over three hours away.
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