Sunday Times

Sanele Man­qele Di­rec­tor at Art Eye Gallery

- Supermodels · Celebrities · Austria · Iceland

Both Sanele Man­qele’s grannies were given the first name “Gertrude”. She keeps both gogo Gertrudes close to her heart … and her skin, wear­ing items that were theirs as part of her ev­ery­day wardrobe. Sanele pulls on her pa­ter­nal granny Gertrude Gugulethu’s jersey, which was given to her af­ter she wed this year. This gran is in her 90s and lives in KwaZu­lu­Na­tal.

“I’ve al­ways loved her col­lec­tion of jer­seys and I just love this one that she’s given me. It’s vin­tage, it’s over­sized and it goes with ev­ery­thing,” Sanele says.

Pulling the jersey over her shoul­ders con­nects her to this age­ing granny who lives far away.

In the same way she in­vokes Gertrude Min­nie — the granny who died when Sanele was about 10 years old — in a bright red felt hat that was hers.

As Sanele bal­ances the hat on her head she’s flooded with mem­o­ries of the granny who in­sisted on be­ing called “Granny Mam”.

“She was very proper, very la­dy­like and, like my grand­fa­ther, she was a teacher.

“I never used to wear her hat, but lately I’ve started to,” says Sanele.

“I al­ways felt that I didn’t re­ally look like any­one in my fam­ily and re­cently a young boy saw a pic­ture of this granny and thought it was a photo of me,” she says.

The hat clearly fits — it’s why she’s wear­ing it.

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