I was invited by the good folks over at Alexander's Band to be apart of their Paper Planes group exhibition at the Design Indaba this year. Paper Planes is a group exhibition by 44 South African artists illustrating stories from Southern African mythology and folklore. I selected the story of Savuri and the Rain Bull.
Drought had fallen upon the land. Clouds, rather than dropping their life-giving rain, sailed past the villages of men and on to other distant lands. With no food and little drinking water, the people were suffering.
One day the Rain, as it sailed high above, sniffed at the scent of the earth and noticed, in between the scents of the long dried grasses, trees, tired birds and weakened animals, the fragrant scent of a young woman. Her name was Savuri. Her skin was soft and smooth, her hair was dark and shimmered like wet stone and the Rain desired her. So the rain transformed himself into a bull, while maintaining the thoughts of a man, and came down to the earth on a shaft of lightning. The bulls hooves were like thunder upon the ground.
The bull came to the hut where the young woman Savuri slept and, as he breathed, the place became full of a sweet mist, like a cloud heavy with precious rain. The smell of moisture awakened Savuri and she watched as the rain bull laid his ears back and and bent down to kneel before her. She could sense the bull’s desire.
The bull stamped his hoof and the earth rumbled like thunder and, behind the shape of a bull and the mind of a man, Savuri could sense the Rain. She knew that any chance of rain for her village must be welcomed with open arms and love and so she clambered up onto the bull’s back. And, with that, the bull trotted off toward the distant mountain from which the rain comes, leaving behind them the soft rumble of thunder and the pitter patter of rain.
As the rain fell on the thirsty landscape, filling watering holes and reviving failing crops, Savuri’s people admired her. She had not angered the Rain by denying him, but rather given herself to him for the hope of rain. A sacrifice that would help many.