Thursday, May 2, 2013

Banana plant as a raw material source for Chagga artists and craftsmen plus other uses

The Chagga people, live in the slopes of mount Kilimanjaro. In those days in every homestead they grew a variety of Banana plants on their farm, namely Mshare,Matoke,Kimalindi,Nyelele,Kipungara,Kisukari,Mkojozi, Msusu, Ngombe and Kitarasa.Some of the Banana varieties, they used for cooking Chagga dishes, such as, Machalari, Mtori, Shiro, Ngande, Kitawa, Kitalolo, roasted or fried green bananas commonly used at breakfast instead of bread and Kiumbo.It should be noted by then Bananas was the staple food of the Wachagga. But with intermarriages it is no longer the case,maize took over as staple food.And rice was regarded as a special food and it was cooked only on Sundays or on special occasions. On the other varieties, some are used as raw material for preparing Chagga local brew Mbege and in recent years Banana wine. And others when ripe as fruits. After banana harvest, the left over of the plant is used as food for cattle, goats and sheep. The leaves of the plant which have dried off is used as bedding material in the cattle barn, so as to keep the herd dry and warm especially during cold season. The cow dung with the used beddings is then spread on the banana farm as manure.     

Above we can see a person holding a banana bunch.On the ground we can see dry banana leaf this material is mostly used for beddings in cattle barns. And on the banana stem we can see its outer core which has dried off. Artists,crafts people and builders use it as raw material. The artist carefully peel off the fibre from the stem s dry outer core. The extracted fibre has a combination of colours, ranging from Black to white, with exceptions of Red, Green, Blue and Purple. The artist and craftsmen use the fibre to make a wide range of products, namely decorative (Portraits and wall hangings) , utility (rope,cooking pot support-ngata, table mats,lampsheds, storage baskets, picture frames etc) and personal use(jewelry,bookmarks,Purses, hand bags etc) .

Below we can see some decorative products.

And here are some of the utility products.


For ladies personal use we have earrings here below. Craftsmen also make hand purse and shoulder bags.

 Banana Fibre fabrics combination
Maasai women
 Banana Fibre fabrics combination

Maasai women fetching water
 Banana Fibre fabrics combination

The other use of the banana fibre material is as roofing material for thatching the roof of Chagga house. This type of material was commonly used by Wachagga of Machame.
You are most welcome to Sanaa Zetu for your Banana fibre made products and other varieties. Customer satisfaction is our motto.