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Palm baskets – The Making Of


artisan sewing down the coiled platted palm leaf


Palmleaf baskets from Kajire, Sagalla hills.

The ladies of Kideloni Women’s Group live in Kajire and weave palm leaves into baskets. Kajire is a relatively new settlement, about 60 years old, and lies at the base of Sagalla hill near Voi town. Most inhabitants are Duruma, which is one of the smaller sub-tribes of the Mijikenda who live in Kenya’s coast province.

People in Kajire have limited access to water, and, like most Mijikenda, rely on subsistence farming. Unfortunately there is insufficient rainfall in Kajire, so crops often fail.

In October 2012 the ladies of Kideloni started weaving baskets together as a women’s group, to generate an income to improve their lives and to earn money to send their children and/or grandchildren to school. Weaving this type of baskets goes a long way back in history and is a tradition of the Mijikenda tribe.

The process of weaving is an intricate and time consuming one. Palm leaves first get stripped in thin longs strips that are then plaited in a long platted roll. The roll gets coiled from the middle of the bottom of the basket, and while its coiled it gets sewn down with sisal thread invisibly. It's a skill that requires mastering and the resulting basket is very light, strong and flexible. A shopper that will last you for many years.

images of Hadithi artisans making and carrying their palm leaf baskets

Watch the video below to know how these baskets are made!


Hadithi Artisans meeting and weaving palm weave baskets together under the tree

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