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Wednesday, June 23, 2021


(Right: One of the 3000 artworks in the collection)

The Voices of Women project is on display at the Phansi Museum

Durban-based activist and artist Andries Botha created the Voices of Women project after attending the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) hearings and realising the magnitude of untold stories by women across the country. The project consists of over 3,000 embroidered and beaded tapestries, reflecting the memories, stories, traumas, and dreams of women across the nation.

Each artwork serves as a living archive to memorialise the lives of South African women and the often challenging experiences that they have endured. These beaded and appliqued artworks resulted from a decade-long project across all nine provinces and reflect the stories of diverse women in various indigenous languages. A blurb accompanies each tapestry, and these are translated into English and available in their mother tongue.

(Left: Andries Botha with the late Samora Wake creating the doors of the Constitutional Court)

When Botha attended the TRC hearings, he felt that a creative methodology should be available for women to process and share their experiences. Their histories and lived experiences are forever archived by retrieving these stories, adding to the posterity of women’s voices for future generations. The project thus serves as a living memorial, offering a voice to those who were often rendered silent.

Unfortunately, many women were unable to share their stories during the TRC hearings. More often than not, those who did would tell of what had happened to their male family members rather than recounting their own traumas. In consequence, gaps emerged with regards to records of the lived experiences of women under apartheid rule.

Voices of Women aims to reclaim this space and offers a creative way for women to share their truth.

Phansi Museum is situated at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, in Durban. Contact the museum on 031 206 2889 or email or visit