I have recently returned from a wonderful safari experience to Kenya. Although the main focus of the trip was the wildlife of the Samburu, Masai Mara and Lake Naivasha National parks, I couldn’t help but to hunt out some traditional African textiles. As we had travelled with only hand luggage we were limited on packing space for anything that took our eye. But I couldn’t resist this cute screen print Zebra for Bobbi. Although I thought it would be nice for her bedroom wall, I think she may use it as a dolls blanket.
We saw a lot of these tourist pieces at many curio shops on the journey round the country. This one near Lake Naivasha had the best coffee too, so was a win-win for my sister.
I made another impulse purchase at the Sandgrouse Curio & Art Gallery when we stopped for a break on the way to the Masai Mara, and found out that I am not good at negotiating. However I ended up with 6m of wax print fabric. I would have loved to buy more but would have had to buy another suitcase.
When we stopped again on the way back to Nairobi I had the opportunity to chat to Angela about her fabrics and clothing. She gave me permission to photograph her textile section of the gallery for my blog. Unfortunately we didn’t have long to browse all the wonderful textiles, but we really enjoyed seeing the clothing and the bolts of fabric. There were some wonderful batiks too.
We also had the opportunity to visit a traditional Masai village where we were greeted with a traditional welcome by both the men and women of the village. It may seem strange visiting a village like this, but it was explained to us that the money we paid went towards the children’s education. Again it was the traditional dress that interested me. We were told that the red checked and striped fabric worn by the men was to ward off the lions and other animals. I am not sure that is the case but the vervet monkeys at the lodges moved very quickly when they saw the guards approach.
So why did I buy this piece of fabric instead of the more traditional gold, red, and green kente cloth?
The answer to this question will be in a future blog post