Author Archives: SPIDER WOMAN


Click on the image for a larger view. And scroll down for a link to a fashion show video featuring more fo the garments.




On September 9th we shall be selling all the garments made for our sadly cancelled “Fashion With Purpose Show. To jog your memory, these are all sustainable clothes made from donated fabrics, fabric samples, small balls of yarn etc.

Tuesday, September 6th – Mini Fashion Show Video. The Mini Fashion Show video we made of some of our clothing will be released to both our membership and customer lists. Hopefully this will inspire you to come to our Sale! There is something for everyone as these one-of-a kind garments fit a variety of sizes and shapes. And everything is priced to sell!
No costs were incurred in their production so all of the profits will go to the African Grandmothers.

WHEN: Friday, September 9th, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
WHERE: The Lobby of McDougall United Church,
8516 Athabasca Street S.E., Calgary

Hope to see you there!


Pack yourself a Picnic and join us:

WHEN: September 7, from Noon till 2:30 PM
WHERE: Christ Church – 3602 8th Street SW, Calgary –  Join us in the garden beside the church or indoors if inclement weather.
EXTRAS: Beverages, fruit, and a cake to celebrate our volunteers, will be served! If you have BB&B items you can drop them off here or at St Giles. Both locations will be ready to receive your items.

We are delighted to have an Indigenous Elder, Regena Crowchild, joining us to speak about her life experiences. Please read Regena’s biography at the bottom of this Item.

Ruth-Anne, a Grandmother’s Campaign Coordinator from the Stephen Lewis Foundation, is flying into Calgary from Toronto to attend our Volunteer Appreciation Event! Ruth-Anne will be giving us an update from the foundation and is looking forward to meeting as many UG members as she can.

Please sign up at the following link so that we have an idea of how many will be attending:
Please note that should you decide to attend at the last minute without registering, please feel free to come.

Biography: Regena Crowchild was originally a member of the Blood Tribe until her marriage, at that time she transferred to Tsuut’ina. Regena is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a great great grandmother of two. Regena attended Residential school as her parents did. As a young girl, her father took her under his wing to teach her about her identity and history, as he felt that she would not be satisfied as only being a mother and wife. These teachings have led her to be an avid advocate for her people here on the homelands of the indigenous peoples. Regena spent most of her adult life in indigenous politics advocating for her people’s inherent and treaty rights. She was first elected into Council in the 70’s and then served again in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. She served as President of the Indian Association of Alberta from 1990-1994. Regena was fortunate to meet indigenous Elders throughout Canada who also taught and guided her in her political work. Now that she is not elected to serve in Council, Regena continues to be an advocate for her peoples by representing her Chief in political meetings and sharing her knowledge to both indigenous and non indigenous people.

Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

BOOK CLUB September 2022 Selection

Kwei Quartey is a Ghanaian author of detective fiction who has written a couple of series featuring two different detectives. We thought this might be a nice change from the ‘heavier’ books we have been reading, good and important as they are.










The first book will likely be a quick read and so we will also read Alexandra Fuller’s “Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness”, a beautifully written memoir by a white author who grew up in Africa.

New members are always welcome. If you are interested, write to – attention Book Club


The Steering Committee is pleased to announce the sale venue for the 2023 Fabric and Yarn Sale will be the Garrison Curling Club, 2288 – 47 Ave SW, Calgary, AB  in the south west community of Garrison Woods and very close to the Crowchild Trail and 50th Ave SW interchanges. It will be another traditional Reduce Reuse Recycle Sale.

Proposed 2023 dates – also in the CALENDAR
Setup days: Tuesday May 2, Wednesday May 3 and Thursday May 4
Sale days: Friday May 5, Saturday May 6, Sunday May 7
Cleanup day: Monday May 8
Updates and specifics will be provided when available.

To help defray costs the committee is looking for 8′ x 30″ wooden tables with collapsible metal legs. If you, or anyone you know, can lend us tables for use during the sale, please reach out.

There is always a need for pre-sale storage so if you can help in even a small way please contact us.

Ujamaa Grandmas Fabric & Yarn Sale is fortunate to have some dedicated customers and volunteers. We are sad to say that we have lost one of them. Frank MacLeod, a long-time volunteer, has passed away. Frank was a tall slender gentleman who always wore a black leather jacket and walked with a cane. He was a costume designer who annually purchased a significant amount of outlandish fabrics for his business. Books and Patterns was his favourite volunteer assignment. Thank you Frank for all your support over the years.

Please direct all inquiries to

Respectfully submitted,
Mona Jones


Hope everyone had a lovely summer. The weather cooperated beautifully and all our guests loved Alberta. Louise Breadner and I attended the Mountainside Grandmothers to Grandmothers “Tea in the Garden” in Westcott, Alberta. The garden is large and full of beautiful plants. We ate “cream tea” which consisted of scones, homemade jam and cream. It was delicious. I thank Louise for accompanying me as co-pilot as I would have probably never found it otherwise.

Ruth-Anne Sebring, our main contact at the SLF, is coming to Alberta in September. We are still planning her itinerary but hoping that we can squeeze in a few more visits to groups as well as Edmonton and Calgary.

The Lethbridge 5th Annual Yarn, Notions and Fabric sale is Friday and Saturday September 16 & 17. I plan on going on Saturday if anyone would like to join me. Please email me via – attention Judy Howe,  and we can carpool.

If you have friends in Cochrane you think might be interested in restarting a grandmother group, please let me know or ask them to contact me. I’m hoping to get something started in October.
Enjoy the final few weeks of summer and stay well.
Judy Howe

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo of Zimbabwe

BOOK CLUB July 2022 Selection

The main character of the novel is Darling, a 10-year old girl who at the beginning of the story hangs around with her gang of friends in a shanty town called Paradise. Later she goes to live with an aunt in Detroit, Michigan, and comes face to face with the reality of America, about which she had only dreamed. In a review from NPR in 2013, Ellah Allfrey writes, “In Bulawayo’s steady hands, what could be a tale of woe becomes a story of resilience.” We look forward to reading this novel and continuing our journey towards better understanding African people, their challenges and their strengths.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adich

BOOK CLUB May 2022 Selection.

The novel takes place in Nigeria prior to and during the Nigerian Civil War (1967–70). It follows five main characters, including the twin daughters of an influential businessman, a professor, a British expat, and a Nigerian houseboy. After Biafra’s declaration of secession, the lives of the main characters drastically change and are torn apart by the brutality of the civil war and decisions in their personal lives.

The book was published in 2006 and has been on many “best books” lists.

The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

BOOK CLUB April 22 Selection.

This novel was long-listed for the 2021 Giller Prize, as the author, originally from Nigeria, is now a Canadian.

The story is a tale of two women from different circumstances who become friends, and then are thrown together during a kidnapping, during which they tell each other their life stories.  The book is a quick read and is a fascinating account of culture and traditions in Nigeria, particularly as they affect the lives of women.


Sthembile Ndlovu, director at Izimbali Zesizwe, South Africa

“It’s so amazing, because the big organizations cannot reach the local level, but we are here and we are with the community.  We are hands on.  Even during Covid lockdown, we can carry on supporting the community.  Thank you for understanding us.  Without your method of support, this community would be suffering a lot.” – Sthembile Ndlovu, director at Izimbali Zesizwe, and SLF partner in South Africa

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

This is a historical novel about women soldiers in Ethiopia during the 1935 Italian invasion.  The book is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu

The establishment of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a pioneering international event. Never had any country sought to move forward from despotism to democracy both by exposing the atrocities committed in the past and achieving reconciliation with its former oppressors. At the center of this unprecedented attempt at healing a nation has been Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this book, Archbishop Tutu offers his reflections on this painful experience.

In No Future Without Forgiveness, Tutu argues that true reconciliation cannot be achieved by denying the past. But nor is it easy to reconcile when a nation “looks the beast in the eye.” In this book, he recognizes the horrors people can inflict upon one another, and yet retains a sense of idealism about reconciliation, showing readers how to move forward with honesty and compassion to build a newer and more humane world.

Stay With Me by Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo

BOOK CLUB October 2021 selection.

The unforgettable story of a marriage as seen through the eyes of both husband and wife, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.  Ever since they first met and fell in love at university, Yejide and Akin have agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time – until her in-laws arrive on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant.

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

BOOK CLUB September 2021 selection.

Members who attended one of Bianca’s talks, either the one sponsored by UJAMAA GRANDMAS or another, may be particularly interested in this book.

Bianca grew up and worked in South Africa before moving to Canada, and thus has an intimate perspective on the beauty and the struggles of that country.

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

BOOK CLUB July 2021 selection.

Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, charting the course of two sisters torn apart in 18th century Africa through to the present day.
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising “half-caste” children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.

Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey into the New Heart of Africa  by Canadian Will Ferguson.

BOOK CLUB June 2021 selection.

This non-fiction memoir has the author travelling in Rwanda 20 years after the genocide with his friend and cohort Jean-Claude Munyezamu, a man who escaped Rwanda just months before the killings began.

From the legendary Source of the Nile to Dian Fossey’s famed “gorillas in the mist,” from innovative refugee camps along the Congolese border to the world’s most escapable prison, from tragic genocide sites to open savannahs and a bridge to freedom, from schoolyard soccer pitches to a cunning plan to get rich on passion fruit, Ferguson and Munyezamu discover a country reborn.
Funny, engaging, poignant, and at times heartbreaking, Road Trip Rwanda is the lively tale of two friends, the open road, and the hidden heart of a continent.

This Mournable Body, by Tsitsi Dangarembga of Zimbabwe

BOOK CLUB April 2021 selection.

This book was among those recommended by the Lonely Planet in a post shared in the January E-News, and was long-listed for the 2020 Man Booker Prize. The Calgary Public Library calls it “a searing novel about the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe, by one of the country’s most notable authors”.
Availability: The book is available at the Library, at Pages on Kensington and Shelf Life Books.