In Zambia, new brides are given a hand-woven basket made from the roots of the Makenge bush known to the rest of the world as "Makenge Basket". This is part of a centuries-old custom passed from generation to generation. The baskets are frequently handed down to the bride by her mother or in-laws, and she will pass them on to her own daughter when she gets married. In fact, the baskets are so long lasting that they may be used for hundreds of years in the same family.
The skill to construct these baskets is restricted to only the most experienced weavers in the village; each taking a minimum of two months to complete. The fiber is hair from a local bush that has been cooked and dyed with natural plant dyes. Each basket has its own one-of-a-kind pattern that conveys a message of beauty, love, and family.
The married woman uses the basket to filter grain, store roots or food, and decorate her home by hanging it on the wall in everyday life. Each basket is personalized over time to reflect individual taste and custom. They are all unique. Today most makenge baskets are considered antique and extremely difficult to find as many have stopped using the old weaving tradition in making these beautiful baskets. This is no surprise why they are quite expensive and rare to find.