Ghana, West Africa
Bolgatanga Market Baskets or “Tehei”
These genuine Bolga baskets are exclusively woven by
the indigenous Gurune (also known as Frafra) people
around the town of Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana.
Bolga is the crafts center of
Northern Ghana. For many
generations, weaving has
been a traditional skill of the
people there. The soil
around Bolgatanga is not
fertile enough for extensive
agricultural activities. The
region has an erratic
rainfall pattern and
generally harsh weather
conditions. As a result,
such as basket weaving,
leather work, and
pottery are undertaken mostly by women to
supplement their incomes since they are primarily
Fair Trade Practices
This weaving group has a mission: assisting the rural
people of Northern Ghana to earn good incomes in order to care of
They believe when
a woman can create
an income, it puts
food into the bowl
of a child, and that
it is also a means of
and the entire
• Veta vera straw, known locally as
kinkahe, is collected from the tops
of the grass stalk, then each piece is
split in half vertically.
• Each half of the split straw is
then twisted tightly by rolling it
back together to give it strength.
• The straw is put in bunches and
dyed in boiling water. For bright
colors the straw is dyed yellow
first, then the color.
• The weaver carefully selects
appropriate straw for the base, sides
and handle. The selection of the
proper grass for various parts of the
basket is critical to good weaving.
• Weaving starts at the base and
works up to the rim. The rims are
generally finished flat, or wrapped
with straw to form a tube like edge.
• There are a variety of different
handles, but all are made with a
sturdy wrapping technique
around a grass core.
• Remaining bits of straw that
are sticking out of the basket
are carefully trimmed off.
• Leather handles are skillfully
applied by local leather workers.
• A medium basket takes about 3
days. Some shapes and patterns
are more difficult to weave and