Traditional Handcraft
Etsha Woven Basket - Turmeric
By: Etsha Weavers, Peter Mabeo
Edition: One of a Kind
Material: Mokola Palm
Design Date: 2013
Production Date: 2013
Diameter: 34 cm
A labor of love, using techniques passed from one generation to the next, this basket is not only beautiful but also embodies the essence of craftsmanship, courage, and community.
Following the civil war that erupted in Angola in the 1960s, it was basket weaving that helped the Etsha people, descendants of the Hambukushu tribe, exchange their refugee status for a new life in neighboring Botswana. The subtle palette of chocolate brown and off white, the elegant shallow form, and the minimalist pattern imbue these baskets with an effortless, timeless grace. To hold them is to be immediately impressed by the quality, skill, and attention to detail that went into the making. And the smell is divine.

Taking at least a month to make, these baskets are woven from the leaves of the Mokola palm, which are dyed using roots and barks from other indigenous trees—a method adapted by the Etsha weavers in Botswana. All elements are harvested sustainably, leaving the tree intact.

No one describes these baskets with quite the same heartfelt passion as Peter Mabeo, the Motswana gallerist, entrepreneur, and designer responsible for bringing the work of the Etsha weavers to global audiences: “I am in awe of the talent, patience, and humility they have toward their craft. While it is important to tell their tragic history, I’m proud to have the opportunity to present their work in a way that honors their tremendous skill. These objects stand as universal exemplars of how tragedy can be transformed into beauty.”

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