Kambaa; plaited cord made with palm leaves

Kambaa is gaining popularity among British chair makers. If there are people wanting it in Germany it can be made available there too.


Kambaa hank close-up

Kambaa is made in Masasi District from thin strips of the leaves which grow on the dwarf palm. This plant normally grows no more than a metre high and survives in  miombo woodland where it is less dense. Kambaa is plaited by women during the dry season when there’s not much work on the land and  when it’s made for sale each hank is about 125 metres in length. The width is always very constant throughout the length but different hanks vary between about 8mm and 12 mm in width.

Dwarf Palm, hyphaene species

In Tanzania kambaa is used for making beds. It can be woven diagonally or parallel with the sides and ends of a wooden bed-frame. The Tanzania village life museum in Dar es Salaam has several examples in houses of different regions.

a traditional bed with kambaa

In Britain a new use for kambaa has been gaining acceptance steadily. It was first imported…

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