ZIMBABWE: ZIENZELE BASKETS
These sisal baskets are made in Zimbabwe by women who have been affected by AIDS in some form - whether they are looking after AIDS orphans or are in treatment themselves or are single mothers.
The material is sisal, a fiber that comes from the tropical plant Agave. Each fiber is harvested, dried, hand dyed, dried again, then rolled against the weaver's leg until the perfect thread is drawn out. An average of 30-40 hours per basket makes these one of the most labor intensive of all African baskets for their size.
These baskets are traditionally given as gifts and symbolize long and happy life.