TRADITIONAL Ukhamba Beer Basket
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A Special Ukhamba is a Traditional Zulu Wedding Gift
This basket is 25" around at its widest point and 10" tall.
This handmade basket is made from natural materials
and there are flaws that are part of its charm.
Sometimes you see a Zulu basket and you know you love it.
It is also the only one of its kind in the world.
The Zulus are the largest tribe in Southern Africa, renowned for their artistry and craftsmanship. Many women make beautiful baskets using traditional art forms in order to supplement their incomes. For many this is their only means of support. Women work in their homes, assimilating basket weaving into their normal routines permitting them to raise their children, work in the fields, collect water or do other daily chores. Indigenous raw materials are used in making these hand-woven baskets. It can take up to a month to produce a medium-sized basket with its own unique size, shape and design. Each piece is a true collector's item.
We work with several collectives in South Africa that are helping women and HIV affected individuals to become financially self-sufficient.
Small traditional Zulu herb containers are used to hold culinary and medicinal herbs. Baskets made for holding herbs have a looser weave to allow the herbs to dry, while those made to hold fluids have a tighter weave. Zulu beer is made by allowing maize (corn) to soak in water in a covered basket until it is fermented. The beer is then wrung through a flexible basket and the grain is then given to the domesticated guinea hens. It is quite funny to watch the drunken hens wobble around. oh, and by the way, the beer is very tasty too.
Traditional Symbols Used in Zulu Baskets
(one above the other)
(forming an hourglass)
A Male Basket
("Assegais of Shaka")
A Feminine Basket
("Shields of Shaka")
*These symbols are often combined
for family baskets. Frequently each family member will have their own basket.
Family baskets are commonly used to store dried goods (i.e., nuts, beans,
Common Colors Used in Zulu Baskets
||Palm leaves are kept in muddy soil for
up to a week
|Khaki Green & Khaki Brown (Mxuba)
||Palm leaves are soaked and boiled in a
mixture of cow dung and water
||Palm leaves are first precolored in river
mud and then boiled for 8 hours in a leaf and water mixture from the Umbuque
||Palm leaves are boiled in a mixture of
crushed shrub leaves and water.
|Pale Red (Bomvu)
||Palm leaves are boiled for 2 days in a
mixture of crushed Tal shrub leaves and water.
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Large selection of items suitable as KWANZAA Heritage Gifts (Zawadi).
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