Shwesh-WE together for Easter

By Frans van Wyk. Owner of Tamonika Events and Floral Expressions

Every year around Easter the fun of decorating a festive table for Easter Monday has become an institution in our household. We polish our best cutlery and take out family heirlooms and create the most picturesque table setting celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and thank Him for dying on the cross for our sins. 

The market gets flooded with pastels and flower choices depicted by the European springtime thus not leaving us on the African continent especially Namibia as a dry and desolate desert country with inspiration to celebrate this special day on the Christian calendar.

One word that every child of Africa knows is shweshwe, and I particularly love this rich patterned cloth that has become entangled in our everyday life. 

For this setting, we used shades of rich ochre and navy blues and combined it with a more Dutch delft design, while soft grey and subtle whites refined the setting. For floral ware, we opted for natural grasses growing and blooming in plumes at the moment, Kol-Kol, fennel flowers and dried moss and a camelthorn branch hung over the table which we sprayed subtly with grey so as not to remove the character of the branch.

The layered effect on a table is very important to get the right look for a perfect table setting. First, we added a straw placemat to start the setting off. We covered all charger plates with the ochre yellow shweshwe and this was done by using wood glue that you paint over the plate and after it’s completely dry you paint a layer of clear varnish as to set the plate. 

(Hint) Remember these plates cannot be submerged into water to clean- instead use a damp cloth to wash should it be dirty. 

The addition of the delft inspired dining plate with the vibrant ochre yellow napkin with fringed edges gives it a natural feel. To finish off the place setting a blue floral cup and saucer gives it an opulent finish and remember: coffee is usually the welcome drink at any breakfast which means this is the first course to be removed from the table.

The flower centrepiece brings the table together – we used an elongated metal container and filled it with oasis. 

(Hint) Sand can also be used. 

On top of the oasis, I glued eggshells with a glue gun, waited for it to dry and then pasted the whole container full of the dried eggshells. I also sprayed a few full eggs with grey chalk spray to give another texture. The dried moss was used and glued into the container to secure the eggs. I placed small pieces of wet oasis into the egg and then added loose pieces of natural grasses found in nature. 

(Hint) Make sure to cut a variety with different colours and textures to make your design engaging.

I completed the design with Kol-Kol flowers and heads of fennel flowers that I took from our herb garden and then a final touch of small quail eggs. 

(Hint) You can use artificial eggs available each year around Easter time or blow out your own.

I used straw baskets in blue and natural colours to add delicious Easter treats to the table and also raw wood plates for some of the other breakfast delicacies. I have found that the use of pottery typically works well, so remember this is the time to take out all the little pots and jars and bowls to create a novelty effect on the table setting.

Try to stay away from cooked breakfast as it takes a lot out of the host by doing breakfast for a large group – instead opt for beautiful platters of cold cuts, tomatoes and an assortment of cheeses and spreads (also, the perfect day to indulge with a bit of Nutella for the kids). 

BONUS: Click here for the recipe for the Sweetened bread ring centrepiece!

Bring in some Easter eggs and sweets on the table and ensure that everybody’s enjoying a hearty breakfast before indulging in sweets. Fresh coffee and teas are always a must on these days, and no Easter breakfast is complete with ice-cold Bubbly and orange juice – so stock up!