South Africa Landscape

Kew at the British Museum

Admission free  |  West lawn, Museum forecourt



Elegia tectorum

Restios make up the unique distinguishing feature of fynbos vegetation, a major component of the Cape Floristic Region at the southern tip of Africa.

Related object in the collection

Ndebele woman's apron

On display in room 25

Restios have many practical uses, and continue to be used in the Eastern Cape for thatching houses as they have for hundreds of years.

In other areas of South Africa where restios are not available, grasses are used instead. This is the case for the Ndebele people of South Africa who have developed distinctive decoration in their house designs. These decorations can also be seen in their beautiful beadwork and weaving.

Read more on the collection database

Ndebele women of South Africa outside their homes

Restio © Richard Wilford, Stephen Ruddy, RBG Kew
Ndebele women of South Africa outside their homes ©
Ndebele woman's apron decorated with thousands of glass beads © Trustees of the British Museum

Ndebele woman's apron



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