Basket weaving, a source of income for women in Bolga,Ghana

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While basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say just how old the craft is, because natural materials like wood, grass, and animal remains decay naturally and constantly. So without proper preservation, much of the history of basket making has been lost and is simply speculated upon.

The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years old, earlier than any established dates for archeological finds of pottery, and were discovered in Faiyum in upper Egypt. Other baskets have been discovered in the Middle East that are up to 7,000 years old. However, baskets seldom survive, as they are made from perishable materials. The most common evidence of a knowledge of basketry is an imprint of the weave on fragments of clay pots, formed by packing clay on the walls of the basket and firing.

 

The People


These genuine Bolga baskets are exclusively woven by the indigenous Gurune (also known as Frafra) people around the town of Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana.

Bolga is the crafts center of Northern Ghana. For many generations, weaving has been a traditional skill of the people there. The soil around Bolgatanga is not fertile enough for extensive agricultural activities. The region has an erratic rainfall pattern and generally harsh weather conditions. As a result, handicraft activities such as basket weaving, leather work, and pottery are undertaken mostly by women to supplement their incomes since they are primarily subsistence farmers.

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Fair Trade Practices

This weaving group has a mission: assisting the rural people of Northern Ghana to earn good incomes in order to care of their children. They believe when a woman can create an income, it puts food into the bowl of a child, and that it is also a means of promoting selfesteem for the women, children, and the entire village.

Source|Basketsofafrica

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