Keiskamma Art for Aids Project


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The Keiskamma Altarpiece, a triptych combining intricate embroidery, applique and beadwork, is being brought to the Cathedral by Keiskamma Friends UK.

Measuring 13 feet high and 22 feet wide, it represents the progress of a community struggling to come to terms with the devastation of HIV/Aids and poverty and bears testament to the courage and artistry of the Xhosa and San people living by the Keiskamma River in South Africa.

As AIDS, unemployment and poverty ravaged the rural districts, women of the villages of Hamburg, Bodium and Intilini decided to fight back with the weapons they had: embroidery needles and beads. This intricate work of art is the work of 120 women over six months.

As the embroidery on the altarpiece began, the effects of the antiretroviral drugs took hold, marking a turning point and a sense of hope in the survival of the community.

Dr Carol Hofmeyr, who runs the Keiskamma Trust in Hamburg and was voted South African Woman of the Year in 2007, together with Eunice Manwange, an HIV/Aids counsellor at the Keiskamma Aids Treatment Centre and some of the women who worked on the Altarpiece, will be in London for its unveiling and to raise funds.

Hand crafted items produced by the Keiskamma Art for Aids Project will be on sale in the Cathedral shop.

  • 10am-5pm; The altarpiece will be opened three times daily at 10am; 2 & 5pm


Southwark Cathedral
London Bridge, London, SE1 9DA
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