Baskets are used for several purposes such as transporting foods from the farms to houses or markets; they are also used to sun dry food items, and used s for fishing in certain localities. The uses of baskets or raffia are unending. Basket weaving is known to have come into existence as a result of the creative African who sought a means of storing and transporting farm produce. In remote villages and towns in Nigeria, baskets are also used in the making of “ago” a locally made cage for keeping birds such as chicken, guinea fowls etc.
Opportune to meet an elderly man who had been in the trade, Elder Ajibola, a man in his mid 40’s, darker skin with tribal marks on his cheeks dressed in a dark blue polo shirt and some worn once upon a time dress pants; his sons dressed in a similar fashion – shirt with a pair of jeans with the exception of the youngest son who wore a big smile and a bold, colorful set of African print shirt and pants. Elder Ajibola as the neighborhood refers to him said he had been in the business of basket weaving for over 20 years and that it has served and still serves as a means of livelihood for his family.
Apparently, though Elder Ajibola has perfected his craft, it still takes him about 3hrs to construct a medium basket, hence his earlier comment about his kids. He described the process involved with such simplicity and ease – obviously a trait that comes to him naturally and a skill perfected over decades. He uses palm fronds from the palm tree (yet another use of Palm Tree – I love this tree- Check out how we used them for Socks); removes the leaves from the stem and begins to weave with it, replacing each stem as it runs out. The creative process of weaving starts from the base to the top he emphasized.
He was so quick and swift with the weaving, and before you knew it, we had a basket ready for the markets in his hands.
Leave a comment
I found it a tad sad when Elder Ajibola said “his kids were not likely to go into the craft business, as the modern day has provided more lucrative ventures for the younger generation and that they had the opportunity to get involved in other endeavors that would require them to work little for a huge sum of money as opposed to his basket weaving.” It was such a wonderful sight, right underneath the tree where they sought some natural shade seated were his children and he as he wove a basket.