Zimbabwe Binga Baskets
Our latest additions to the online store today are two beautiful Binga Baskets from Zimbabwe.
We don’t get many of these (though hopefully we will have more soon) so they are unlikely to be in the store for long.
Here’s some background to the baskets:
The remote Binga district is home to the severely disadvantaged BaTonga people. In the early 1960’s, their fertile lands were permanently buried in water during construction of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Kariba, and they were forced to relocate to their current lands that are barren and difficult to farm.
Today, some women traditionally still use wild grasses and palm leaves dyed with tree bark to weave intricately patterned baskets. These shallow bowls are still used today to winnowgrains, especially the largest of sizes.
Due to the politics in Zimbabwe, these baskets are becoming more difficult to come by. It was no easy task before the political situation began to heat up…
To start collecting, a two day bus trip out to the Binga area is taken with much of the second day being on dirt roads. Then our representative walks miles and miles to go hut by hut to find the ambuyas, the elderly grandmothers that still weave the higher quality baskets. He carries the baskets back to the bus depot and brings them to the capital city of Harare for tagging, packing and shipping to the US.
Why do we collect baskets in this manner instead of buying from consolidators and middlemen? This is the only way we can fully ensure that the weavers are paid fairly for their work while also ensuring we locate the highest quality Binga baskets available.