These beautiful unique bowls are real collector's items. They are woven by hand from strips of palm leaves that have been coloured with natural dyes. These palm leaves are then wrapped around a base of wild grasses. Read the story..
Ilala Palm basket weaving is an ancient, exacting, time-consuming process.
Each Zulu basket is lovingly handcrafted in the northeast coastal and inland areas of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. All natural fibers, materials and dyes are used to construct these unique treasures. Most of the people in this region are subsistence farmers living in traditional Kraals, areas bordered by acacia sticks that encircle traditional family dwellings.
The age-old tradition of basket weaving is usually passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. This helps to preserve Zulu culture as the grandmothers have the opportunity to recite oral history and stories to the younger generations as they all weave together.
Zulu women prepare the materials for weaving these baskets by collecting Ilala palm fronds, pulling them into strips, then use natural materials such as mud, flowers, charcoal, bark, roots and other found materials to dye them before hanging them to dry. The palm fronds have a natural waxy coating which makes them ideal for weaving watertight baskets.
• Checkerboards, Whirls or Circles – good news, new baby, good rains
• Triangle – symbolizes masculinity
• Diamond – symbolizes femininity
• Zig-zag – represents the spear of Shaka
• String of diamonds – the shields of Shaka
• Diamond patterns with triangle points around the outside – wedding basket