This striking Zulu telephone wire basket combines traditional skills with modern materials. It is approximately 3" deep by 8" in diameter with rigid walls, and has a yellow, orange, black, white and copper swirl pattern. This beautiful basket is from South Africa. It can be cleaned in warm, soapy water.
Zulu wire baskets, called mbenge in their homeland, are made in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Zulu basket weavers have long been recognized as among the most skilled in the world, traditionally making watertight pot baskets, as well as bowls and herb jars, from palm fronds and wild grasses. At some point Zulu men began experimenting with weaving baskets from scrap telephone wire, and a new cottage industry was born. Recycled wire is no longer often used, because there simply isn't enough high quality scrap wire to fill the demand for the baskets. Instead, the weavers who supply us use custom manufactured lead-free wire, resulting in higher quality baskets and fewer hazards for the weavers. What began as a hobby now provides full time employment to about 800 weavers.
About the brand: African Creative was founded in 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa by a local musician seeking to link local artisans to global markets. The business is based on fair trade principles, artistic collaboration, and entrepreneurial empowerment. It specializes in high quality bead and wire art. In 2013 African Creative launched The Locked Horn Project to raise funds to combat rhinoceros poaching, and it is a supporter of SANCCOB, a South African non-profit organization that works to conserve marine life.