By celebrating craft and design from different cultures on our continent, we share truly authentic African stories with the rest of the world. We honour the skills that have been passed down through generations, place high value on the sustainable materials used in these hand-making processes, give recognition to every designer and maker, and pay genuine respect to heritage and tradition.
100 Beautiful Baskets
100 Beautiful Baskets is a contemporary exhibition celebrating Africa’s unique basket-weaving traditions. It showcases woven vessels from different communities – stretching from Ghana to Zambia and Uganda. With a strong focus on Southern Africa’s diverse groups of basket-weavers, this first-of-its-kind exhibition brings together some of the most revered names in basketry, giving the highly skilled handcraft the recognition it deserves.
100 Beautiful Baskets is curated by Platform, and will be on display at the V&A Waterfront from November 2021 until the end of February 2022.
Tintsaba was founded in 1985, with 12 weavers. It has now trained and worked with over 1,400 women in rural Eswatini, and is considered to be a leader in the field of decorative basketry. Its highly refined, very detailed and brightly coloured designs are sought after around the world.
Tintsaba’s baskets (as seen in 100 Beautiful Baskets) are made from sisal, an agave species that grows naturally in Eswatini and is regarded as an invasive weed. One sisal leaf can be as long as 75cm, with up to 200 fibres! These individual fibres are spun together to create a continuous ‘thread’ for weaving.
Thabisa Mjo, Mash T Design Studio
The extra-large Deconstructed Pendant Lights seen in our festive-season decorations are by Joburg designer Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio. Thabisa’s collaboration with Bambizulu (Bright Side Table) was exhibited in 100 Beautiful Baskets, and the Hlabisa Bench she designed with Houtlander, which was woven by master weaver Beauty Ngxongo and her community of weaving artists in KwaZulu-Natal, also formed part of the basket exhibition.
Thabisa is renowned for a contemporary take on her South African heritage, and was the winner of Design Indaba 2018’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa and joint winner of 100% Design South Africa Designer of the Year 2019.
Marisa Fick-Jordaan has been working with wire-weaving artisans in KwaZulu-Natal for more than 25 years. Since initiating ZenZulu, she has pushed traditional craft skills into the contemporary realm, mentoring weavers to develop products that have been sold in international stores such as The Conran Shop and Anthropologie.
ZenZulu works with 60 home-based weavers in four communities and has exhibited its high-end craft products at prestigious shows around the world, growing the market for this uniquely South African artform.