basket market maputo mocambique


Wednesday 22nd February
I’m currently in Maputo, Moçambique. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to fly here because of Cyclone Freddy which is due to hit the coast tomorrow (Friday). Flights had been cancelled but luckily that changed. Within 15 mins of arriving at our hotel, I found some wonderful baskets (which will be available next month) at the Mercado Central. This is a food market, but the fact that baskets were everywhere underlines just how so many cultures view basketry as an integral part of their daily life, intrinsically linked to the harvesting and carrying of foodstuffs. As each country has its own traditional weaving techniques, I’m fascinated to see their influences and heritage.

Mercado Central Maputo baskets

Mercado Central Maputo

Mercado Central Maputo

Mercado Central Maputo

Thursday 23rd February
Today will be a full day of scouring the markets, hearing about their enterprises and deciding which ones align with my business philosophy for fair trade, sustainability and craft of high quality.

We started the day by visiting Casa Elegante, the address for Capulanas in Maputo. A Capulana is a type of a sarong worn primarily in Mozambique but also in other areas of south-eastern Africa. It is a length of material about 2 metres by 1 metre. It can either be used as a wrap-around skirt, dress or can become a baby carrier on the back and is considered a complete piece of clothing. A little bit of paradise for me, as you can imagine.

Beverly choosing fabrics at Casa Elegante, Maputo

Then a visit to the FEIMA, the main art and craft market in Maputo. This became almost a daily trip, particularly once I’d perfected the not so subtle technique of bargaining for a price that suited me AND the sellers! There is a lot of tourist-directed trinkets, but if you have the eye, you can find some absolute treasures in there.

Artisan at FEIMA market Maputo Mocambique


Seller at FEIMA market Maputo Mocambique

Friday 24th Feb
We started with a visit to a group of weavers right on the beach in Maputo. They make furniture using coiling and weaving techniques. It was such a treat to watch them work, and appreciate their dexterity and speed whilst they created these contemporary objects with age old techniques. Too big for my suitcase,but Binky placed a big order for her Cape Town store.

Basket weaving Maputo Mocambique   Basket woven chairs Maputo Mocambique
Basket weaver Maputo Mocambique  Basket weaver Maputo Mocambique

That afternoon, we visited a jewellery designer who had been recommended to us. Dilayla was a photographer, but when COVID hit, she started developing jewellery ideas she’d had for a while. Lovely big chunky but very light bangles and contemporary jewellery. Look how amazing SHE looks in a Capulana!

Dilayla of Noki with Beverly Smart in Maputo Mocambique Dilayla of Noki, Maputo, Mocambique

Saturday 25th Feb
We were due to drive to Inhambane to see the weavers of the baskets we’d been buying in Maputo in situ, but Cyclone Freddy had hit just up the coast from there, so we delayed till Sunday. We started very early at a local and lesser known market, which was worth the early start. The makers were selling themselves, rather than via sellers (at FEIMA), which of course meant better prices!

Jewellery seller at market, Maputo, Mocambique

Market Maputo Mocambique  Market Maputo Mocambique

Then another final trip to FEIMA, where, as is the way, we found lots of other treasures we had to buy for our stores.

Beverly Smart at FEIMA market Maputo Mocambique

  Binky Newman surrounded by salesmen FEIMA market, Maputo, Mocambique

The next day, we left for Inhambane, home of the weavers ... more of that next week.

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