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Shop for Zambia Tonga Baskets | Zambia Information

Zambia, Southern Africa

Tonga Baskets

The People

The People In the South of Zambia, there are hundreds of traditional village weavers that make a variety of natural fiber baskets. The weavers are all subsistence farmers. They work in their fields during the cool mornings and weave baskets in the afternoon and evenings to escape the heat.


A variety of baskets styles are created in different areas of Southern Zambia. These baskets are rustically woven and rooted in Tonga culture. All baskets are colored with natural vegetable dyes, or use no dyes at all, relying instead on natural contrasts in the weaving materials. Each type of basket is named according to the area from which it originates. Striking patterns are unique to each style of basket.

Zambia Tonga Basket Weaver

Plateau Baskets

These are the most commonly known Tonga baskets, traditionally used for winnowing grain. They have a heavy coiled rim and are woven of tiny vines, or creepers, and palm leaves, in a simple over and under weave style.Zambia Tonga Basket

Munyumbwe Baskets

This style is similar in materials to the plateau style, but they have a second coil of vines on the back of the basket. This makes the basket double thick, almost like one basket woven on top of another. They are very stiff and strong bowl shapes with patterns that are distinctly different from other styles of Tonga baskets. They are woven in deep or shallow bowls.

Sinazeze Baskets

These baskets are coil woven over grass, which is a big difference from other Tonga baskets. They are rustic looking with thick sturdy walls. Sinazeze baskets are normally created with simple block patterns.

Shop for Zambia Tonga Baskets | Zambia Information

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