The Story of the Zienzele Baskets
60 Kilometers south of Masvingo, Zimbabwe, are 5 small villages in one of the driest and poorest areas of Zimbabwe. The Zienzele Foundation has started a basket weaving project there to generate income for the HIV affected women and pay school fees for the HIV orphans from these villages.
Zienzele baskets are traditionally given as gifts and symbolise a long and happy life.
The tropical agave / sisal plant is the raw material for these beautiful baskets. The fibers of the sisal plant are harvested, dried and hand-dyed with natural dyes from tree bark, flowers and/or seeds. They are then dried again and rolled against the weaver's leg until the perfect thread is drawn out. An average of 30-40 hours per Zienzele basket makes these one of the most labour intensive of all African baskets for their size! Each basket has its own pattern and colour, which makes them all unique.
The Zienzele baskets are only woven in the dry season. In winter, when it rains, everybody works on the fields to harvest corn.
These flat baskets look great as wall art, combined with different sizes like the 15cm basket or 20cm Zienzele.