Swazi Baskets of Swaziland - Tintsaba Crafts

Since 1985, Tintsaba Crafts has run a rural development project in the Northern Hhohho region of Swaziland. The project works with women's groups producing and marketing quality crafts. The project is an outstanding success, with some 600 women now producing a wide range of traditional and innovative crafts.

Using a fine coiling technique, the Swazi baskets are woven from sisal, a fiber made from the agave plant which is considered to be an evasive alien plant species originated in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, and introduced to Africa to make the sisal fiber.

Before the sisal is ready for making Swazi baskets, the fibers must be stripped, cleaned, and spun by hand. Weaving is a labor intensive task; it can take up to approximately 40 hours to spin the fine yarn and complete the weaving of an 11" - 12" diameter basket.

Each Swazi basket is graded according to its technical and artistic qualities, including the basket size, coil density, thickness of the hand spun cotton fibers, pattern of coil, design symmetry and color combinations.  The grades of Swazi baskets range from initial Trainee/Apprentist Grade,  Market Saleable Grade, Craft Grade and Gallery Grade.

Less than two dozen women out of 300 basket weavers in Tintsaba's Development Project are considered master weavers who can produce the Gallery Grade baskets. Among this small group, only 10 women have achieved the ability to craft the "Collectors Range" of Gallery Grade baskets.  These technically perfect baskets are indeed stunning, intricately designed handcrafted pieces, sought after in auction, by collectors worldwide.

A beautifully hand-crafted work... inspires.

Zulu Baskets

NOTE: These are samples, please visit our ​ Online Store to see the entire range of these crafts.