Injabulo are proud to be working with their supplier who was concerned with the devastation that AIDS is having on rural communities. Concerned that these communities were dying out and their age old skills with them, he set about making a difference and has regenerated 3 villages through his efforts and introduced a much needed source of income which will help pay for education and nutrition for future generations.
Fair Trade, Ethical and made entirely from natural materials, Injabulo bring you a stunning range of traditional Zulu baskets from South Africa.
Zulu women work in their homes, where they can assimilate basket making into their normal routine to supplement, and in many cases, generate their only means of income.
The image above shows mother and son storing the raw Ilala palm.
Every basket is made by hand, using indigenous raw materials and is coloured using natural dyes obtained from bark, berries and roots.
Imbenge - A small saucer shaped bowl traditionally woven with Ilala palm and grass fibres. the imbenge is used as a platter for servind dried foodstuffs, as well as used upside down to function as a lid or cover for the clay beer pots. When not in use it is hung up on the wall as part of the decor.
Ukhamba - A rigid bulb shaped container, rendered watertight by the tightness of the coil/weave and the material used (ilala palm) When liquids, generally home brewed beer, are introduced into the ukhamba, the pores swell, whilst the outside sweats, thus keeping the liquid cool by means of evaporation. These baskets are ususally very decorative and colourful, particularly those made for ceremonial use.
Isiquabetho - A large basin shaped basket used for gathering and caarrying grain. The small bowls are used for serving dry goods such as beans, fruit or nuts.
Materials commonly used in basket weaving -
Ilala Palm - this is the most desirable. Grows along the North Eastern Coast of Kwa Zulu Natal. Once cut and dried, the leaf is then prepared for weaving into fine, often watertight baskets - the natural shade is cream
Ncebe - bark of wild banana, natural shade light brown. Baskets made from this are not watertight and are used for dry storage. Dyed ilala is interwoven to impart colour and design.
Some common colours used in Zulu Basket weaving
All colours are natural obtained from boiling roots, leaves, berries and bark of indigenous flora. Many are seasonal.
Brown/Black (Isizimane) - Rotts of tree, crushed and boiled for many days
Pink/Lilac(Mphegumbefu - leaves of a small bush (12-18 hours boiling)
Coral (Mgwenya) - aloe roots ( boiled for 4-6 hours)
Purple/Blue (Umdoni) - skin of ripe umdoni berries ( 4-5 hours boiling)
Burgundy/Maroon (Isfixu) - Bark of Marula Tree (1-2 hours)
Orange (Xomisane) - Rotts of small plant (2-4 hours)
Mustard/Yellow(Icena) - Paste of wood-ash and water. soaked overnight and boiled for 5-7 hours
Grey (Ijuba) - soaked in black mud for 1 week
Khaki Green(Mxuba)- Fresh cow dung, soaked overnight in water, thereafter boiled with palm leaves for 4-5 hours. The green colour is clearer in Spring.