Swahili News

Win an African Banana Fiber Nativity!

Artisans in Kenya and Uganda use the fiber of banana palm trees to form the figures in this all-natural, African nativity scene.

The star-topped box transforms into a stable for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Surrounding the holy family are three wise men bearing gifts, a lamb, and three shepherds playing musical instruments are also represented. Ten figures in total are included, each an impressively handcrafted sculpture.

Retail value is $36. One nativity will be given to a randomly selected winner. Contest runs from 1:30 PM on 12/11 to 1:30 PM on 12/19.

Thank you for entering and checking out our site!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thank you to Lucky Contests, Contest Girl, ContestBee, SweepsAdvantage, SweepstakesBug, InfiniteSweeps, OnlineSweepstakes, DoublePrizes, About Contests, Cool Freebie Links, Freaky Freddie's, I Love Giveaways, Sandy's Realm, and Pinterest, for helping us to promote for this contest!

December 11, 2014


Pope Urges Shoppers to Shop Consciously

Pope Francis asks shoppers to not buy products which may have been made by modern-day slaves, no matter the cost savings. In the outline of his speech to be delivered on January 1st, the Pope will restate his belief that consumers should stay clear of "items which may have been produced by exploiting others."

This message is not just for consumers. The Pope also warns that businesses "have a duty to be vigilant that forms of subjugation or human trafficking do not find their way into the distribution chain."

While the Pope's statement is not explicitly in support of fair trade practices, his message rings true with the principles of fair trade. These principles include creating opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers, paying fairly and promptly, and supporting safe and empowering work conditions. 

We think Pope Francis is just wonderful and appreciate his forward-thinking stance on some of the most important - and least discussed - topics of modern day life. And, as a business, we are happy to be grounded in fair trade and we are also happy to have you as a customer and participant in this process!

Pictured below are some of our Ghanaian craftswomen making baskets in their front of one of their homes. Acting as independent producers who earn a fair wage and are free to choose their working conditions, these women are just one example of the happy hands and faces supported by the practice of fair trade. 

December 01, 2014


2014 › Fair Trade ›

25% Savings on Fair Tuesday (and other great deals!)

Do you know about Fair Tuesday? It's a day devoted to ethical shopping, especially in response to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This special day falls on the first Tuesday of every December and is an opportunity for holiday shoppers like you to show your support for fair trade, ethical, and eco-friendly brands.

And...it's also an opportunity to find some great deals! All of your favorite fair trade companies will typically host a promotion, and FairTuesday groups them together for you on their Facebook page.

This year, Swahili Modern is delighted to offer 25% off of everything on our site on Fair Tuesday. All you need to do is use the code FAIR25 anytime on December 2nd, 2014. 

Here's a montage at some of the other amazing deals offered tomorrow. Click through to be taken to the page.

 Thanks for your support and we hope to see you tomorrow!

Win a Pair of African Cow Bone Earrings!

Handcrafted in Kenya, these 3"L earrings add exotic beauty to your look while also supporting fair trade. The earrings feature discs that have been hand-carved from local cow bone, naturally bleached, and dyed with a traditional wax batik method.

The earrings are decorated with stripes or circles made during the batik process, and are dyed to a beautifully rich brown. Additional brass and glass beads add even more style. 

Retail value is $28. Two pairs of earrings will be given away, one to each winner. The contest runs from 2:30 PM on 11/18 to 2:30 PM on 11/26.

Thank you for entering and checking out our site!

Update: congratulations to Cathy M. and Holly E. for winning this contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thank you to Lucky Contests, Contest Girl, ContestBee, SweepsAdvantage, SweepstakesBug, InfiniteSweeps, OnlineSweepstakes, DoublePrizes, and Pinterest, for helping us to promote for this contest!

Small Meets Big: We've Been Featured!

Many of our products come from humble places, such as tiny workshops with metal roofs in Nairobi and sandy plazas in Dakar, so it's always a thrill for us to be featured in a mainstream publication. This December, we are honored to have our Olive Wood Spiral Servers appear in All Recipes Magazine.

One of our best sellers, these hand-carved servers add natural beauty to any table and are a fair trade, sustainable product from Kenya.

We hope that the All Recipes feature helps to bring more fair trade representation to holiday tables across the US, including yours!


October 23, 2014


2014 › Recipes ›

Spice Up Thanksgiving with Ethiopian Mashed Vegetables

Already planning your Thanksgiving menu? This colorful dish from Marcus Samuelsson elevates sweet potatoes into a sensational side dish with Ethiopian flare. It's kid-friendly, vegetarian, and absolutely delicious!

The recipe is from Samuelsson's book The Soul of a New Cuisine, which is being sold in our Fifth Street Market Store and will be featured in our upcoming gift baskets.  

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hunt

Chunky Mashed Vegetables Recipe

Servings: 4-6


  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into quarters, or frozen green beans
  • 8 tbsp or (1 stick) butter
  • One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chilies, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the garlic and sweet potatoes with the peanut oil in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. Remove and reserve the garlic. Continue roasting the sweet potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes.

2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, if using fresh green beans, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Add the beans to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain and set aside.

3. When the sweet potatoes are done, transfer them to a large bowl, add the roasted garlic, and mash with a fork to a chunky consistency.

4. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, carrots, onion, and jalapeanos and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the water and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. (If using frozen green beans, add them with the carrots.)

5. Stir in the berbere or chili powder and mashed sweet potatoes, then add the blanched green beans and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the chives and salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

6. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and serve.


Coming soon!

October 17, 2014


2014 ›

The Call of Africa

For those who have traveled to or aspire to travel to Africa, please enjoy this beautiful poem by C. Emily-Dibb. 

When you’ve acquired a taste for dust,
The scent of our first rain,
You’re hooked for life on Africa
And you’ll not be right again
Till you can watch the setting moon
And hear the jackals bark
And know that they’re around you,
Waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants.
Or to hear the coucal’s song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
You’ve been away too long
It’s time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon,
Where your spirit yearns to be.

Africa is waiting – come!
Since you’ve touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
The wild fish-eagles cry.
You’ll always hunger for the bush,
For the lion’s rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace once more.

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