African and Basketry – African basketry is a dynamic craft, shaped by social, environmental, and economic factors. Not only does basketry play an integral part in modern community life, but it has also evolved to be a highly expressive form of contemporary art.
While this traditional skill still is held in high regard in present-day Africa, the materials used have significantly changed from natural fibers to include other forms of recycled materials. The traditional fibers used for basketry are usually a reflection of the local habitats. They include palm, sisal leaves, fiber, raffia, fibrous tree, vines, leaves cane, bark wood, and papyrus.
Historically, baskets were used for farming activities such as winnowing, sifting, porting, and storage of farm produce. Baskets were also used for serving food and filtering beer. Spices and tobacco were also stored in basket containers. Baskets were also weaved into fish traps.
Basket making in Africa is traditionally a women’s craft, and women have developed basketry into a highly refined form of art. There is hardly an African community that does not exhibit some form of basket craft. This means that basketry is a form of employment for many African women. This empowers the women and their communities.
Presently, basketry is an important source of livelihood for most communities in Africa. Through basketry, the weavers are able to support their families while continuing to keep traditions alive.
At Oluokos Signature, we believe that investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path toward gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. Most African communities, still experience a generally low status for women with respect to access to economic resources and economic opportunities.
Eradication of poverty is a high-priority goal for development. To achieve this goal, Oluokos Signature, through its eco-tourism ventures offers a helping hand to the neediest grassroots women, in the communities with which we work. In such communities, eco-tourism provides much-needed economic benefits to these communities.
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