Tonga Baskets of Zimbabwe – Paulski Art

Tonga Baskets of Zimbabwe

Tonga baskets are woven by the women of Zambia's Southern Province, who are well-known for their basket weaving skills. The baskets have a unique look owing to their square bottom and geometric shape that is unlike other traditional African Baskets.

A basket with a diameter of 18-20 Inches takes around two weeks to complete. The Ilala palm or traditionally known as mapokwe, which is abundant in most areas, is also cultivated by Tongan women for basket-making and has flourished into a successful business for local villagers who depend on the income for their day-to-day lives. With increased popularity, a Tonga craft center was established by the Danish government to further promote the baskets.

The center's primary goal was to preserve the traditional crafts, including basket-making, drum-making, carving, pottery, and beadwork. The Tonga people live in a region that is prone to drought and poverty. Having this center has helped drastically.
The baskets are used to transport corn, millet, and sorghum from the fields and then winnow the grain. Stripes, a web-like pattern, and a lightning design are among the most popular designs.