In KwaZulu Natal, brewing vessels and beer pots are still used for ceremonial drinking, although today plastic vats and jugs also are common. These globular, blackened vessels, which embody Zulu identity, demonstrate pride in the old values. The ukhamba or beer drinking pot is still produced for the local market in its simple blackened form. Some makers create wares for multiple markets. Azolina McMncube, for example, makes a refined version of the ukhamba for white collectors, and caters to buyers in the local market who are eager for something novel by painting vessels with red, green, and white gloss paint.
Nesta Nala is one of the most famous Zulu ceramists of the post-apartheid era. Like Maria Martinez of the United States in the Pueblo tradition, Nala is the matriarch of a pottery dynasty and the crossover figure that revived indigenous methods and forms and successfully connected with international audiences. From an early stage, she directed her work toward the gallery and collector market. Nala’s daughters and others including Ian Garrett and Clive Sithole have extended her legacy. Jabu Nala dramatically enlarges the traditional beer vessel, while Thembi Nala applies figurative narratives on subjects ranging from Zulu ceremonies to the AIDS crisis.