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Gahaya Links African Baskets Celebrating Peace In Rwanda

Basket weaver Fairwinds Trading
[Image credits: top, Fairwinds Trading; bottom, Gahaya Links]
Following on from my previous posting about the Zimbabwean Basket Weavers, I have become increasingly fascinated by the defining characteristics and regional differences in the patterns, forms and traditional uses of African baskets and thought it would be nice to dedicate a separate posting for each of the various country styles I come across.

In Rwanda the traditional art of basketry has been used as a vehicle to build hope, bringing together communities once divided by the Genocide of 1994. Recognising the potential towards fostering healing, Rwandan sisters, Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana founded Gahaya Links, a multi award-winning basket-weaving business. Bringing together about twenty women, the sisters taught them how to weave or how to enhance their weaving skills with new design techniques. Today, Gahaya Links manages a network of over 4,000 weavers across the country, organised into approximately 52 savings cooperatives and help provide much needed income and stability. Partnering with Fairwinds Trading an American not-for-profit organisation and retailers like Macy’s Department Store a project called ‘Path to Peace’ was established to connect the Rwandan basket weavers to the global community, sharing their stories and selling their exquisite handicrafts. The designs incorporated are often a modern interpretation of traditional styles and reflect a jubilant celebration of peace and unity, with ‘The Agaseke’ Rwanda’s oldest traditional basket renamed the ‘Day Peace Basket’ as a symbol of unity.

Fairwinds Trading Basket weaver and The Agaseke Basket

[Image credit: The Agaseke Basket – Fairwinds Trading]
The Agaseke is a pagoda shaped basket unique to Rwanda and included on the national seal. Normally given as a wedding gift, the zig-zag design tells the ancient story of friends walking together and visiting villages along the way. The baskets are made out of naturally dyed sisal which is then coil-sewn over bundled sweetgrass and are functional as well as being decorative.

Rwandan Baskets Macys

Inspired… join in celebrating peace with these stunning African baskets.

Additional Details:
Prices on Macy’s website range from: US$35 -US$80

For further information on Gahaya Links visit: www.gahayalinks.com
For further information on Fairwinds Trading visit: www.fairwindstrading.com

For more on the Path to Peace project and to purchase visit: www.macys.com

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