TAMBANI: African Embroidery

TAMBANI: African Embroidery

Last week, you met Sani Madau one of the Venda women who does embroidery to supplement her income.  Now I want to introduce you to the lady who makes it possible – Ina Le Roux.  She has created a wonderful business supporting rural Venda women who embroider such beautiful work. Read her absolutely heartwarming story […]

we all need a livelihood strategy: what's yours?

we all need a livelihood strategy: what's yours?

This is Sani Mudau. When I was visiting the village last week she was busy with an embroidery while she was waiting for her turn to be paid for the fruit she had collected. Since it's Women's Day today I thought I would celebrate the local Venda women. Many rural women have something called a […]

The hidden benefits of baobab oil and fruit powder

The hidden benefits of baobab oil and fruit powder

Annie Nenzhelele has been collecting baobab fruit for EcoProducts for a few years now.  Last week when I was visiting her village she said that she has been using the money she has earned for building her house.  She took me into her house to show me the bags of cement she  had bought to […]

Calling the community

Calling the community

I was visiting a village in Venda the other day and needed to talk to the community about when I would be collecting baobab fruit.  During the day people are scattered and busy with other chores so it’s difficult to get to speak to everybody at the same time.  The headman’s wife was so excited […]

Encounters with a family tree

Encounters with a family tree

When I was visiting friends in Cordoba, Argentina recently I came across this tree that looked so much like a baobab that I thought it must be some relation.  When I looked it up, I found it was indeed part of the same family as the Baobab Malvaceae. Its scientific name is Ceiba speciosa commonly […]

Living in a baobab tree

Living in a baobab tree

Here are some pictures we found of how people have used the hollow spaces within a baobab tree as living spaces – there's a bar and another has even been fitted out as a toilet! One ancient hollow Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside its trunk. […]

Brief Beauty

Brief Beauty

In contrast to the solid bulkiness of the tree, the Baobab’s flowers are delicate and fragile looking. The pendulous white flowers, centred with a soft brush of bright yellow pollen, bloom for just 24 hours before falling gracefully to the ground.  The waxy white flowers appear in spring or early summer. The buds start to […]

The tree that doesn't die

The tree that doesn't die

Baobabs are very difficult to kill, they can be burnt, or stripped of their bark, and they will just form new bark and carry on growing. When they do die, they simply rot from the inside and suddenly collapse, leaving a heap of fibres, which makes many people think that they don't die at all, […]

The Legend of the Upside-down Tree

The Legend of the Upside-down Tree

A very, very long time ago, say some African legends, the first baobab sprouted beside a small lake. As it grew taller and looked about it spied other trees, noting their colorful flowers, straight and handsome trunks, and large leaves. Then one day the wind died away leaving the water smooth as a mirror, and […]

More wisdom of the Baobab tree

More wisdom of the Baobab tree

In Africa the Baobab tree comes close to being regarded as sacred – or as the shelter under which the elders talk and consult until they reach consensus. Here is a picture of a traditional meeting place beneath a Baobab tree close to a Venda Village. It is almost as if the tree bears witness […]