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« on: October 21 2014 »

21 Oct 2014, by  Natasha Muza
 
Some of the exhibitors at the first Basket Case exhibition in 2010. They came from Binga Craft Centre, Bulawayo Home Industries, Lupane Women’s Centre and the Zienzele Foundation. Some of the exhibitors at the first Basket Case exhibition in 2010. They came from Binga Craft Centre, Bulawayo Home Industries, Lupane Women’s Centre and the Zienzele Foundation.

When Anna Mudimba (38) split up with her husband in 2007 she and her four children lost a breadwinner, but thanks to a move she had made eight years earlier she was able to provide for her family.

In 1999 she had joined the Binga Craft Centre where she was taught the craft of the basket-making. She had actually started learning this craft in 1992, but it wasn’t until she joined the centre that she became really skilled and started making significant money from it. Her income grew steadily as she became more proficient and so when her husband left her and would not pay any maintenance she had a starting point.

At the end of this month Mudimba and a colleague travel to Harare for the second edition of the Basket Case Exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (The first edition took place in September 2010). They will join basket-makers from across Zimbabwe and from other countries who will not only exhibit their work but share experiences and learn from each other.

She told Zimbo Jam that she was happy to be able to provide for her family. “Basket weaving is like any other job as it enables me to keep my family intact and send my children to school, but like any other profession it has its challenges. For instance we have to walk long distances to find the material that we use to weave baskets,”  she said.

Some of the international basket-makers who will grace the occasion are Ifeoma Anyaeji (Nigeria), Alexandra Bircken (Germany), Delaine Le Bas (United Kingdom) and Michel Paysant (France), who have been commissioned to create exciting new pieces which will be on display.

Zimbo Jam caught up with the Zimbabwean curator of the event, Raphael Chikukwa, who spoke more on the event and its bearing to the lives of the people who are into that line of business.

“Basket weaving has been in the country ever since time in memorial and these people actually make a living out of it, it’s a tradition in Africa that over years has been passed through various technical skills from generation to generation hence making it richer.”

“The beauty of this line of business is that there is a big market both locally and internationally. For example looking on the local market, kana muroora achipinda mumusha anoenda nebasket (when a daughter in law enters her new home, she takes a basket with her) and that’s our tradition we can’t run away from that so every time a girl is married that’s business for us. Also when we harvest our maize from the field tinoda kuchipepeta (we want to sinnow it) so we use rusero (a type of flat, disc shaped basket) right, so all this just goes to show how much baskets are bought on the local market,” explained Chikukwa.

Asked on how such exhibitions benefit the weavers Chikukwa said, “These give the weavers an opportunity to showcase their products and thus bring in clients for them from both local and international arena and they also help them to network and exchange ideas.”

For Mudimba, the journey to Harare will take her up to two days on the road but that’s nothing compared to the 22 year long journey she has walked to become a leading basket maker.

source: http://www.zimbojam.com/articles/art-craft/arts-issues/item/1996-binga-woman-is-a-basket-case-of-success
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