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Go for African ware

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th April 2008 03:00 AM

IT is quite disappointing that foreigners beat us when it comes to shopping for African crafts. Africans simply pick items from Europe and Asia when they visit these places, from shoes, clothes through jewellery to kitchenware.

IT is quite disappointing that foreigners beat us when it comes to shopping for African crafts. Africans simply pick items from Europe and Asia when they visit these places, from shoes, clothes through jewellery to kitchenware.

By Joseph Ssemutooke

IT is quite disappointing that foreigners beat us when it comes to shopping for African crafts. Africans simply pick items from Europe and Asia when they visit these places, from shoes, clothes through jewellery to kitchenware.

Asians and Europeans will make it a point to pick an item designed in African style.
Yet buying African crafts would promote and preserve our culture. This is not hard to achieve, with the many shops specialised in African-items mushrooming in the city.

At the National Theatre, the African Village or Crafts Village comprises a chain of shops dealing in commodities designed to reflect Africa in a unique way. You only need to pass by one day and something will catch your attention.

Shoes,/b>
Shoe- making is one of those areas where African designers are successful. There are open shoes made from bark cloth and animal skins. And those made from car tyres, known locally as Lugabires. Most of these are designed by professional artists, and they cost about sh20,000 and above

Clothing
You may be spoilt for choice. If you wish to go Masaai, there are many-coloured, checkered pieces worn over the body with a knot at the shoulder. If you prefer the milk culture, the kikooyi to wrap around the body is there, the barkcloth from Buganda and Busoga is there, and from Congo the biteengi.

There is also the East African tunic known as Kanzu, as well as those made from skins of the leopard and gazelle. Head-gears also feature, most of them made from or littered with beautiful feathers from birds. Prices range from sh15,000 upwards.

Bags and purses
These are mostly made from the same material as the clothes, but their designs are especially intriguing. A money purse made from a barkcloth may be really beautiful to flash, so is a bag in goatskin. There are also those woven in sisal or palm fronds, coloured with beautiful paintings. You could acquire one at sh10,000.

Jewellery
You can buy the big coloured necklace beads from the Langi, the small waist beads from Teso, or anklets from Buganda. Earrings too come in various designs. Wristbands can also be got. They cost between sh10,000 and sh50,000.

Artefacts
Some of the best artists in the country have stalls at the African Village. The art is simply breathtaking. Nyanzi and Mugabi, whose pieces reflect Uganda, have a collection of batiks at the place.
There is also Ssenga whose clay works have won her awards abroad.

The art pieces include paintings, pencil sketches, batiks, and sculptures made from clay or wood.
There are African musical instruments like drums and horns, which cost between sh30,000 and sh100,000.

Kitchenware
They include pots, jars, bowls, charcoal stoves and dishes. Most of them entail impressions of objects like fish and animal faces on the exterior.
Other shops have cups, plates and tea-pots. There are also baskets made from sisal or palms.

Tables, chairs, stools
Shop No. 30 sells exquisite furniture, with tables covered with cowhide, chairs and stools. You can also get any of these items on order.
They cost not less than sh50,000.

Toys
How about your kid playing with an authentic African impression of a gorilla or an antelope. Next time you are in town check them out for yourself.

Go for African ware

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