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Africa’s Basket Weavers Telling Stories Through Basketry

Basketry is a skill that has been practiced up and down the continent for centuries with examples from the past coveted by collectors around the world. Today Africa’s basket weavers are redefining the art form employing ingenious methods to create modern functional home decor products. But whilst these baskets may appear to be merely functional or decorative products, taking the time to look beyond the aesthetics reveals the layers of stories woven into the strands; as basketry -a skill traditionally practiced by women- carries within it the stories of livelihoods, of hopes, dreams, achievements, and sacrifices. Highlighting just how powerfully […]

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Design: Kubaka Furniture Collection

George Pericles [Rwanda] [Image credit: George Pericles]  George Pericles is an innovative creative think tank operating between Paris and Kigali. In 2013 the company developed Kubaba, a contemporary furniture collection inspired by Rwanda that works towards developing a local luxury vocabulary.

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Decor: Indego Africa Design-Led, Traditionally Inspired Rwandan Handicrafts

Indego Africa [Rwanda] [Image credit: Copabu Wooden Bowl, Black – Indego Africa] Design-led aesthetics and sustainable social enterprise combine to form Indego Africa; an inspirational US- and Rwandan-based organisation working to effect lasting positive change in the lives of those it works with. Offering interior and personal decor and accessories Indego Africa is helping to bring to market beautiful traditionally inspired handicrafts given a contemporary edge. Focusing on women-owned businesses in Rwanda, Indego Africa has partnered with nine cooperatives in a combined total of over four hundred women artisans, skilled in disciplines such as basketry, knitting, sewing and beading; producing stylish seasonal […]

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Travel: Striking Modern African Interior Design Inspiration at Nyungwe Forest Lodge 

Nyungwe Forest Lodge [Rwanda] [Image credit: Main Lodge – Nyungwe Forest Lodge] I have just finished reading a delightful and touching book called ‘Baking Cakes in Kigali‘ by Gaile Parkin and in it, the main characters take a drive through the Nyungwe Forest, which they describe as being ‘beautiful’. When reading this part I kept visualising the chic Nyungwe Forest Lodge whose website I had come across a little while back. About four to five hours drive from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali; Nyungwe is a closed canopy rain forest. Designed to blend in with the surroundings the Nyungwe Forest Lodge is located on […]

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Art: Rwanda’s Striking Imigongo Panels

Imigongo Paintings [Rwanda]    Once upon a time in the Rwandan Province of Kibungo lived Prince Kakira; son of the King of Gisaka. The Prince was inspired to decorate and beautify the houses around him, using natural materials to paint decorative motifs directly on walls. The result was the beginning of an artistic legacy dating back to the 19th Century. Known as ‘Imigongo‘, striking black and white geometric patterns were created on the wall surfaces and complemented with shades of burgundy and ochre.

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Travel: Premier Eco-Tourism Destination Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge [Rwanda] [Image credit: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – Kiwi Collection] At first glance Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge itself is relatively unassuming; however it’s the surroundings that grab you first, set in 11 acres of the lush, rolling landscape on the edge of the Parc National des Volcans, a premier eco-tourism destination in North-Western Rwanda.  Facing the imposing volcanoes that rise to almost 15,000 feet, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located 7,000 feet above sea level in hilly terrain. Designed to maximise the striking views, the simple structures of the lodge are scattered; tucked away amidst the vegetation and comprise a central building hosting […]

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Food & Drink: Land of a Thousand Hills Drink Coffee Do Good

Buf Café / Coadeka-Bukonya / Land of a Thousand Hills [Rwanda] [Image credit: Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company] For many getting through the day without a cup of coffee can be a struggle, I don’t drink coffee – it works rather too well keeping me wide-awake for days – but I do like the rich aroma of roasted coffee beans. However, coffee is among one of the most exploitative industries in the world a focus of many fair trade initiatives towards making a positive and lasting change; especially where fair wages and export tariffs are concerned. Recognising this […]

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Fashion: Mille Collines Blending Trend and Tradition

Mille Collines [Rwanda]     [Image credits: Mille Collines] An eclectic design style seeking to blend trend and tradition to create timeless creations defines Kigali based fashion label, Mille Collines. Mille Collines was launched when Spanish designers Marc and Inés left Barcelona, Spain for Kigali, Rwanda in 2006. Valuing heritage, workmanship and ethics in the fast pace of the ever-changing fashion world, the pair were drawn to the diversity and rich handicraft traditions of Rwanda and sought to bring together local tailors and artisans to develop a brand that reflected the vision.  Production focuses on high quality craftsmanship through handmade finishings […]

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Design: Gahaya Links Baskets Celebrating Peace

Gahaya Links [Rwanda] [Image credits: top, Fairwinds Trading; bottom, Gahaya Links] Following on from my previous posting about the Zimbabwean Basket Weavers, I have become increasingly fascinated by the defining characteristics and regional differences in patterns, forms and traditional uses and thought it would be nice to dedicate a separate posting for each of the various country styles I come across. In Rwanda the traditional art of basketry has been used as a vehicle to build hope, bringing together communities once divided by the Genocide of 1994. Recognising the potential towards fostering healing, Rwandan sisters, Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana founded Gahaya Links, a […]

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