Telephone Wire – Isitsha Bowls

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Isitsha Bowls – Plain (SOLD OUT)

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Isitsha Bowls – Durban Swirl (SOLD OUT)

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Isitsha Bowls – Safari Swirl (SOLD OUT)

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For centuries South Africa’s Zulu people have been famous for the sturdy and beautiful baskets they weave from grasses and Ilala plam leaves. Today these baskets are still woven in the rural countryside, but those living in Urban areas have invented a new kind of basket, the Imbenge basket woven entirely from recycled telephone wire. The baskets are very sturdy and are bright and colorful owing to many colors of the wire.

The origins of telephone wire weaving is traced to Zulu night watchmen in urban areas who – to banish loneliness and boredom on night shifts – took to weaving colored wire around their traditional sticks. Soon this technique was adapted to making – izimbenge – beer pot covers – the wire plates we have today.