February 2020 GENERAL MEETING February Speaker: – Richard Brooksbank – the Story of Ma’s Lace.
‘Story of Ma’s Laces’ relates the story how one Belgian woman, Louise Liénaux-Vergauwe, came to create six unique and exquisite pieces of lacework during The Great War. She created these laces as a way for her to express her pride in her small country, her anger at the German occupation of it, and most importantly her desperation and grief at her separation from her two very young children who were living as refugees in Rotterdam. ‘The Story of Ma’s Laces’ was written by one of those two young children, Yvonne Brooksbank-Liénaux and is told by her grandson, Professor Richard Brooksbank of Wits University.
Richard was born in the UK and emigrated to South Africa with the rest of his family in 1982 at the age of 16. He has called Johannesburg his home ever since. For the last 25 years he has worked as an academic at the University of the Witwatersrand where he is currently appointed as an Associate Professor in the School of Physiology at Wits Medical School.
Despite his academic credentials, Richard will be the first to admit that he knows almost nothing about lace and lace making. However, the same cannot be said for other members of his family. In this talk he will relate the story of how his great grandmother, Louise Lienaux-Vergauwe, came to create six unique pieces of lacework as her response to the trauma of The Great War in Belgium.