Tonga Baskets, Zambia
For their basket weaving abilities and geometric designs, the BaTonga of Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia are popular. Southern Zambia's Tonga believes their basket makers are picked and inspired by ancestral spirits. However, art is opened to all African contexts if one is of the right sex.
All it takes to understand is to watch an older relative or neighbor at work and practice a great deal. Usually, most active basket makers are older adults who occasionally, if ever, become full-time specialists. Most of their time is dedicated to other economic activities such as agriculture, fishing, and hunting.
Basketry is an operation that squeezes or performs with others during the less busy times of the annual economic cycles. Basketry yields extra revenue, offering enough money to purchase paraffin, soap, gasoline, sugar, as they see it. If handicraft promoters or other people either guarantee baskets or otherwise finance the basket makers, they appear to be younger and spend time making the baskets longer.
First, an ilala palm is woven into a distinctive square and then radiates outward to produce stunning patterns, traditionally in the form of a spider web or lightning. The palm fibers are dyed with tree bark, and a distinctive herringbone pattern rim finishes the baskets.
It takes approximately two weeks for a basket of 30 cm to complete. These winnowing baskets separate the grain from the chaff or other debris from the stored grain in a region vulnerable to drought and hunger. Tonga females are the entrepreneurs of their villages, giving their families much-needed extra income.
Sisal Basket, Kenya
These prominent baskets are made of sisal grown on farmland belonging to the weavers of the baskets. or purchased from sisal estates in the coastal province. To produce a fiber rolled into twine, the leaves of the sisal plant are used and then woven into a basket.
Sisal is renowned for being a reliable and hardy material; even saltwater is resilient! However, when exposing your basket to full sunshine, caution should be taken, as this will allow the colors to fade. Although these baskets would not be affected by a splash of water, drying the basket out if made wet is advised. Sisal is a natural product, and it can go moldy if it stays damp for a long time. Therefore, if you use your basket as a plant pot, lining it with a water-proof bag is recommended.
The Kasigau Weaver's Group 'who are Taita ladies, dye the fibers themselves and then roll the twine on their lap. Making baskets is very labor-intensive art. The baskets come in various colors and designs, and these artistic Taita ladies are making up each style entirely!
The first steps require a labor-intensive procedure in which the sisal plant leaves are removed, exposing the useful threads inside. Weavers work to carefully split the fibers down into individual strands by using water to loosen them and a machete blade to separate them. The sisal threads are then continuously washed until their natural tint is lost, and they fade to a silky white. The white sisal now serves as a blank canvas for another significant move before the weaving starts.
The next step is the dyeing process. Groups of weavers also turn their fiber dyeing into a joint event, boiling water in large metal pots to cook. The artisans swirl and wait, making sure the dye is perfectly infused with the fibers. The brightly colored threads are hanged like laundry to dry when the shade is just right, and the development process can finally begin. Now the weaving method is problematic. Sisal fibers are woven into a tiny coil around thin bundles of sweetgrass and secured stitch by stitch. As the process proceeds, the col develops, and the weaver inserts variously colored sisal threads into careful patterns or designs.
The basket finally takes shape, and the finished basket becomes a labor of love. When a testament of talent, and a piece of art, with its bright hues, vibrantly dyed, neat coils carefully tied, and intricate design expertly stitched.