‘Queen Marwe,' c. 1895
W. Rausch of Bulawayo
A silver gelatin print portrait of a Matabele (Ndebele) woman identified in the negative as ‘Queen Marwe,’ more correctly known as Mahwe Ndiweni. She was one of the wives of Lobengula Khumalo, the last king of the Northern Ndebele people, historically called the Matabele in English. She was a daughter of Mletje, induna of Ujinga and sister of induna Nkomo of Ujinga. Mahwe had no children. (See Lozikeyi Dlodlo: Queen of the Ndebele by Marieke Faber Clarke and Pathisa Nyathi, 2010).
Photographed by W. Rausch of Bulawayo.
By the middle of the 1890s, the photographer W. Rausch had established a studio in Bulawayo on Abercorn Street opposite the Bank of Africa, where, according to advertisements he placed in local newspapers, ‘All kinds of photographic work undertaken – groups photographed in town or country’ (Bulawayo Sketch, 21 November 1896). He also offered for sale ‘native’ portraits, photographic Christmas cards, and albums depicting the principal streets and buildings of Bulawayo.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.
Dimensions: the print measures 8” by 5.8” (20.5 cm by 14.7 cm) and is mounted on a slightly larger piece of cut-down album page that has been neatly separated from its reverse side by a professional conservator.