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Shop for Binga Baskets | Zimbabwe Information

Zimbabwe, Southern Africa

Binga Baskets

The People

These baskets are named for the remote Binga district - home to the displaced baTonga people. In the early 1960's, their fertile lands on the Zambezi river shore were permanently buried in water during construction of the world’s largest man-made lake.

The damming of the mighty Zambezi created Lake Kariba, which holds four times the water as China’s three gorges dam. As the lake filled, the Tonga were forced to relocate to their current lands that are barren and difficult to farm in Northwest Zimbabwe. There are also baTonga people - separated from their families by the 2,000 square mile lake - that live in the South of the neighboring country of Zambia.

Weaving

Today, many Tonga women utilize traditional weaving techniques to create intricately patterned baskets. All natural and locally harvested materials - such as wild grasses, small vines, and palm leaves dyed with tree bark - make up the baskets. The largest sized bowls are still used by the baTonga people for their original purpose of winnowing grains.

Binga baskets are woven using the over and under style of ‘simple’ weaving and a 16 inch diameter basket can take around 3 days to complete. The baskets are finished using a coiled rim with a distinctive herringbone pattern.

 



Collecting Baskets

Due to the politics of present day Zimbabwe, these baskets are becoming more difficult to source.

It is a two day bus trip from Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare out to the Binga area - with much of the second day being on dirt roads. We have sought out and work with as many of the ambuyas as possible (respected grandmothers) who weave the high quality baskets.

Many weavers rely solely on our Fair Trade income from weaving baskets to sustain themselves.Binga Baskets from Zimbabwe South Africa


Shop for Binga Baskets | Zimbabwe Information



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