Showing posts with label Tanga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tanga. Show all posts

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Swahiliness in Swahililand



 In the 21st century, to be referred as Mswahili is far from a compliment.  To be called "Mswahili" is a form of scorn. Mswahili is a person who will not keep their promises, time inefficient, careless and anything negative!  Literally, if one says Mswahili, it should mean " A Swahili Person" ;just like when we refer to a person born and bred in London as being  "A Londoner" or a Cockney speaker, etc.  I personally identify myself as a Swahili woman so that will make me a "Mswahili" and very proud of it!!  This little post will tell you exactly why.
Myself (center) with my Swahili sisters representing, at the River Thames Carnival in London September 2010

Being born and raised in Dar es Salaam on the East African Swahili coast there are times when I reminisce on the uniqueness of the Swahili culture, its traditional music and dance, visual arts, cuisine and of course fashion; a collage of daily activities, depending on where you are. You would see women weaving mats, baskets, pounding corn or vegetables to prepare meals.
You would also encounter  ladies and young girls decorating themselves with henna or braiding hair and  actually the cost of braiding is not that exorbitant in these neighbourhoods. Knowing that, someday you could return the favour. You would see men enjoying a game of “bao”, young boys with their creative engineering skills constructing a “car” using materials they have found in the neighbourhood, men scaling palm trees for fresh coconuts which are peeled and cracked open for  refreshing drinks, etc! Oh, how I miss that!
As for the music and dance … on weekends you could bump into a group of people getting together with their musical instruments and just having fun! I remember when we used to live in a particular area in Dar-es-Salaam called Magomeni,  it was disastrous in a good way!  You would be in the house minding your own business and my word; you hear these hypnotic sounds of drumming and singing, the wonderful sounds of Gombe Sugu, Beni, Mkwaju- Ngoma (later on was replaced by Mdundiko) and of course Mdumange, passing outside your street, before you know it you have slipped out of the back door and enjoyed the carnival… destination unknown!!!  I used to get into a lot of trouble for that, I can laugh about it now.   


Beni man


Proper Beni going on here!!!  
  I am so grateful that I had the full Swahili experience when we moved from Oyster bay to this typical Swahili area of Magomeni; It felt strange in the beginning, as the two areas are totally opposite to each other, after few months being a child, I adapted, and boy, I loved it!.  This is the area where all these carnivals used to happen on our street, sometimes it could be too many in a day, but hey.... it swept me alright.  I remember once going as far as Mwembe Chai with my neighbour friend called Mwana Hamisi.  That is when I really got smacked by my dad because we came back late; around 6-ish... and boy no child was allowed out of the house during those times.

Hey! Those by gone years Taarab a typical Swahili genre sort of music was on the scene; nowadays it is Bongo Flava – a combination of both Swahili and Western forms. 
I will not talk much of the mouth -watering cuisine cooked with local spices! The fresh fish from the Indian Ocean, available at the open fish market along Kigamboni beach. This can be picked fresh fish to be prepared at home  or  grilled right there; or roasted (grilled) corn and cassava chips, fresh vegetables,  fruits (i.e. different types of mangos, bananas), etc . I could go on, but you get the picture.
When it comes to fashion, women like to adorn themselves with Khanga, which continues to be recognized as traditional attire as well as Vikoi (kikoi, singular) mostly worn by men, a pride of Swahili women and men. 
 There is a lot of history about the Khanga fabric which I had written about in my earlier blogs.  I am proud to highlight that Khanga continues to  maintain its status as it enters into the 21st century.  We  designers use this traditional fabric  in the revolutionary styles of today.
With that I say,  please enjoy some of the snippets of the Swahili Flavour.


Men playing Bao



Women Catching up / sharing...



Going for coconut (someone has to do it!)


Photographer waiting for her coconut juice prepared by Juma.

Coconut  leaf weaving was one of my favorite pass time when we went out to the farm, few miles from Dar.  Nothing goes to waste!
Basket weaved from the coconut leaves



Sokoni  (At the market)

oooh my favourite! Raw mangoes with pili-pili to give the flavour!




Rice doughnut (Vitumbua)
Vitumbua!! My Swahili breakfast special, love them! 

Young ladies getting ready for dance

Fish Market


Simply colurful! I hope you have enjoyed the post!
Kwaheri kwa sasa!
X


Images courtesy of:
Maggid Mjengwa - Maggid Mjengwa.com
Ruth Masunya Lukindo
Ehster Sabuni
Amita Kilumanga
The Swahili Coast Magazine



































Wednesday, 21 March 2012

From Sisal to Fashion Apparel


Okay folks!  When you hear about sisal, naturally what comes to mind is agriculture, a commercial crop.  Perhaps your mind will wonder around industrial ropes, low cost, hardware .....well, anything BUT 'glamour'!





I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania,  East of Africa.
As a little girl, I remember looking forward to holidays because it was travel time!  My parents took us  on a vacation to Korogwe and Mheza, in Tanga region, my parents birthplace, to visit our relatives.
 Tanga is located on the coastal strip of the Indian Ocean on the north east of Tanzania.  It is beautiful!.




I remember starting the journey to Tanga from Dar in the family station waggon, at 6am and reached Korogwe, a small town in Tanga by lunch time.  The trip was such fun!
When approaching Korogwe, I was always fascinated to see huge plantations of sisal beautifully cultivated in endless rows. Dad always told us about the history of this cash crop and  use of sisal.

The plantation

Sisal cut and ready to go for processing

 In preparation for further process in the machine called  decorticatior.

Processed sisal hand to dry for exportation.
Visit this site for details.

   Little did I know that one day I would actually create something out of it.  If my Father was still alive today, I know he would have been amazed to see how sisal can actually be so versatile and produce something that is glamorous and wearable.


The Beauty

My fascination with natural fibers, and my love of creating, I dared myself to created something from this fibre.  I enjoy working with ropes, different yarns and strings, so  I went to a hardware shop one day and deliberately searching for sisal rope.  I bought lots of it and decided to dye it in various colours.  Green off course to depict the original colour of the plant, as well as other variety of colours. I got creative and.........this is what I came up with.
Photographed by: Anna Prays


A lil je ne sais quoi !!!



The necless perhaps!


mmmh.... :)  Cape?


Simply Vogue It!!!


xx