Litha’s intriguing romance with clay
Clay has been an integral part of Xhosa culture for centuries. When the people of the Eastern Cape were being absorbed into the wage economy of the new English overlords in the 19th and 20th centuries, those who had not enjoyed the privilege of formal school education were known as the abantu ababomvu (literally the “red people”) – a reference to the red clay which the women would smear on themselves and the imbola (iron oxide) which they used to die their blankets.
The rich red clays of the Eastern Cape were not merely cosmetic; they were used for making pots and decorative items, and nowhere in South Africa was the colour of the clay quite the same. Litha Ncokazi enjoys translating this material into ceramic objects (sculpture and pots) in sync with contemporary trends but yet original. Litha has always had an affinity for red earthenware clay.
Having studied Fine Art actually gives him an urge and puts him at the top of his game. He designs and creates his own artwork with attention to detail. It is his design acumen and adroit handling of his material that underpins the quality of his high-end one-of-a-kind ceramic work he produces.
Litha Masivakale Ncokazi was born and raised in Cwecweni, as small rural village of Engcobo Local Municipality, an administrative area in the Chris Hani District of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Ngcobo is an isiXhosa name for a sweet grass found in the area.
Litha is a third born to Amanda Ncokazi with only three siblings. He is married to Nozuko Ncokazi, the couple has a two-year-old daughter by the name of Ilitha Ovayo Yazini Ncokazi.
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