Wednesday, August 11, 2010

something tanzanian at watatu

This is a kanga -

(text above in Swahili reads, “ I trust in God, whatever happens”)

Measuring approx. 1 x 1.5 m, the kanga is a silkscreened 100% cotton textile used mainly in Kenya and Tanzania as a garment and a baby carrier.  In addition to the lovely design, there are usually words in Swahili.printed on the kanga.  These can be political or some sort of wisdom often with a double meaning.   Sometimes these slogans can be used to indirectly communicate with others, such as neighbors.  Good or bad. ;)  (sort of like the American T-shirt ?)  You can read more about the origins of the Kanga here.

The proverb on the below kanga says, “no pain , no gain” 

This one says, “what you do not know will harm you”

And for those of you who sew - here are some of the fun things you can make out of them -

a bag -

a dressing gown -

a skirt and blouse -

What would you make? 

I love that Watatu is a small business started by 3 women friends – two from Tanzania and one from Sweden - (watatu means 3 in Swahili) -  who love African textiles and fashion.  This small business appears to be a labor of love where doing business is still personal.   Your purchase of their products also helps local production and artisans in Tanzania and Uganda.

In addition to kangas, Watatu  has many other lovely and unique and affordable things like -
this kitenge used here as a sumptuous table covering


unique jewelry


ladies wear


and much more -  like for you cooks organic spices and fair trade coffee. 

And best news of all, Watatu offers International shipping.  Please check the drop down menu at checkout for a list of the countries Watatu delivers to.