Crafthood: Nurturing & Celebrating Botswana’s Heritage

Basket weaving

Island Safaris is proud to partner with Travel for Impact and give back to Botswana, our home.

Travel for Impact is a powerful, unique and dynamic social enterprise aiming to change lives by working from a grassroots level to address community identified needs, through a simple, yet effective method of giving back. Travel for Impact reallocates funds from the tourism industry back into community initiatives. This is made possible by building lasting, symbiotic relationships with community and travel partners.

We are grateful that they have shared with us stories of people whose lives have been impacted by their projects.

In the words of the First President of Botswana, the Late Sir Seretse Khama, “A nation without culture is a lost nation”.

Culture is an integral part of every community around the world, however we do see it changing in this modern era we live in. The cultural identity of an individual is what defines them and connects them to their community regardless of the external influences of modern culture. It is important to nurture and celebrate our heritage, and this is what organisations such as Crafthood aim to do.

The Crafthood centres were established to bring together the traditional basket weavers of the Ngamiland region and showcase their beautiful work which is an integral part of the culture in this region. These baskets are made by women as is the tradition and the skills are passed down from generation to generation. The changing world however, has brought about a disconnect because the young generation preferring to work in the professional world instead, and Crafthood aims to bridge that gap.

Chandida Munyadze, a director at Travel for Impact, took a moment to talk about the significance of cultural identity today versus in the olden days.

“Culture is dynamic, the ways of our forefathers do not necessarily apply to the modern world we live in. Our culture is being diluted everyday by what we see and emulate in other cultures.

A person is defined by where they come from and what his/her community’s values and norm are. As the culture changes so does the cultural identity, hence it is important for a community to maintain their heritage. If I go to a place where Setswana is not spoken and I meet other Batswana there, we are connected by our culture and so will build our own little community of Botswana there because it brings familiarity and a sense of being home to us.

I know we live in a global world however this does not mean we should not take pride in our culture, we should embrace and maintain it.”

Mapeo Tsamende, one of the ladies who lives in Etsha 1, makes baskets to sell at the Crafthood centre. We took a moment to sit and talk to her about the importance of basket weaving as part of her cultural identity.

“I was taught how to make baskets by my grandmother from a young age and I have since improved my skills.

Basket weaving skills are not as common as they used to be because most of the children today are not that interested in the trade, they say basket weaving does not bring in enough money and this makes me sad. There are some who are interested and we are teaching them these skills, however I wish there were more.

This is a part of our culture as the Hambukushu and we are trying very hard to maintain it. The young ladies that we are teaching do give me hope that our culture will not die out.”

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