Makenge baskets can be purchased on our site in our African Baskets section.
In a centuries old tradition, new brides in Zambia are given a handwoven basket made from the roots of the Makenge bush. Often the baskets are handed down to the bride by her mother or in-laws, and in future she will pass the basket to her own newly married daughter. In fact, the baskets are so durable that the same basket can be used in a single family for over 100 years.
Only the most skilled craftswomen in the village are able to weave these baskets, each taking an estimated two months to create. The fiber is the tough root of a local bush that has been boiled and dyed with natural plant dyes. Each basket features unique, one-of-a-kind patterns that convey messages of beauty, marriage and family.
In daily life, the married woman uses the basket to winnow grain, store roots or food, and to decorate her home by hanging the basket on the wall. Each basket is decorated over time to reflect personal taste and tradition. No two are the same.