Swahili News

Featured in HGTV Magazine!

We are delighted to have not one, but two African baskets featured in the September 2015 edition of HGTV Magazine

The baskets are hand-woven in Senegal and are fair trade. This Yellow & Silver Warming Basket is ideal for shelf storage, especially scarves, hats, and craft supplies. The basket's domed lid adds a surprising amount of extra space.

One of our most popular African baskets is our 27" African Basket in Green & Blue. This large, colorful basket is most often used as a laundry hamper or for large storage. Beautifully hand-woven and designed to last for decades, these large baskets add style and utility to your home.

East African "Dawa Medicine" Cocktail Recipe

"Dawa" is the Swahili word for medicine. These hand-carved sticks are used for mixing the famous East African Dawa Cocktail and are made from neem, which is a healing wood. Recipe:

1-2 shots of vodka
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Chunks of fresh lime
Small chunks of broken ice

Put all of the ingredients into a glass and muddle well with the Dawa Sticks. Enjoy!

African Decor: Field Notes

We recently had the great pleasure of staying a night at a resort in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The decor was stunning and, if you strive for an organic home with an African touch, we hope these pictures give you inspiration for your next project.

The rooms are chalet style and made from natural materials. 

The view from the lodge. 

Do you see the elephants? 

Thanks for looking! Please check out our products in African Decor to find that special design element to give your home the warmth and joy of Africa. 

Brand New Basket Designs from Senegal!

After months of formulation and shipping, we are so excited that our new designs are finally here. Here are some pics of the staff unloading them from the container. We hope you like what you see and would love to hear your suggestions for future designs!

 

African Innovation: A Battery Wrapped in a Cell Phone

In the States, our phones are always getting thinner and slicker, but in Ghana, innovative minds are thinking differently. Recently, there has been a surge in cell phones so bulky that they even include a handle. But do you know what else these giant phones include? 

-a power bank battery to charge small electronics

-a USB port for charging

-an FM radio

-an LED flashlight

-3 SIM cards slots

-pre-installed WhatsApp and Facebook apps

All of these features have incredible value in Ghana at the moment. Sweeping power outages can last for a week, so having a power bank for your devices is a necessity. The flashlight and radio also come in handy when there is no power.

Why three SIM card slots? Ghanaians use them to take advantage of promotional offers and also to maintain different phone numbers, and this giant cell phone is a handy place to store the cards. 

This phone is one of the the things that we love most about Africa: innovation. Even though the phones are likely manufactured in China, some bright minds in Ghana thought "Let's ignore the thin iPhone trend and make a phone that our countrymen actually need." This thinking paid off: the phones are incredibly popular and seen everywhere in Accra. 

You can read more in-depth info at http://qz.com/411330/the-mystery-of-the-power-bank-phone-taking-over-ghana/

Preparing African Baskets for Shipment

Quality control is important to us, and all of our products are checked by many hands before leaving Africa, as they come into our warehouse, and before they are shipped to you.

Here's a quick video of longtime employee TJ and his process of cleaning up a basket. Thanks for watching!

Admiring Baskets at a Market in Senegal

Senegalese craftswomen have excelled at using simple materials - plastic strips and natural grasses - to create baskets of stunning color and variety. Whenever we travel to Senegal (about 2-3 times a year), we work with the women to develop designs that are geared towards a US market.

The domed lid style (above) is a traditional Senegalese shape and requires a great deal of talent to form the lid.

Outdoor markets like this one outside of Dakar offer baskets in every color of the rainbow. The domed lid style (above) is a traditional Senegalese shape and requires a great deal of talent to form the lid. 

Senegalese hampers with modern designs. http://www.swahilimodern.com/

Over the last year, we have been working with the weavers to develop "stair step" and chevron designs. Aren't they lovely? These pictured baskets are samples in progress. 

Which styles do you like the best? Let us know in the comments so that we can have the baskets shipped back and put on the site!

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