Waterberg's Pedi Pottery
Did you know?
Pedi pots are usually made in winter, when there is little rain.
Anna Moshede is well over 80-years-old now. She lives in a tiny homestead at Rhenosterfontein, a short drive from the Melkrivier, deep in Limpopo's Waterberg Mountains.
She hardly speaks a word of English, and the kraal where she lives probably looks the way it did 100 years before. Chickens scratch diligently about, and the dwellings are simple mud huts.
Around Melkrivier, people simply refer to Joanna as Waterberg's Pedi Potter. She makes clay pots in the old way, entirely from materials around her and her skill is such that entire Waterberg tours are centred around her work.
First, the clay has to be collected from the riverbed, preferably in the early dry season, before it gets too hard. The summer rainy season, in any case, is too busy with planting and harvesting.
One of the kraal's huts is a studio where she shapes the pots using fragments of calabashes or seedpods.
Just behind the kraal is a pit for firing. Joanna uses cow dung, dry wood and grass for fuel. Overnight in the fire, the pots of blackish clay become rich and mottled, each unique with its own dappling of colours ranging from terracotta to orange, yellow, grey and black. Another mobile kiln was recently added.
It is this traditional way of making pots that sparked an interest in legendary conservationist Clive Walker, founder of the Waterberg Biosphere and the Waterberg Museum. Thanks to his interest, the unique Waterberg pottery style will not be lost to future generations.
Anna Moshede has now passed on her Waterberg Pedi pottery traditions to her children, and they will, no doubt, one day pass them onto their children in turn.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Waterberg Biosphere Reserve
Tel: +27 (0) 14 755 4002
Tel: +27 (0) 73 480 7392
www.waterbergbiosphere.org. (Download the Waterberg Meander Brochure)