|Materials||Sisal grass and metal chain|
|Necklace Length||31 inches (including string/raffia)|
|Pendant Size||.5 dia. See picture for penny size comparison.|
Since 1985, Tintsaba has run a rural development project in the region, working with women's groups to produce and market quality crafts. The project has been an outstanding success, with some 750 women producing a wide range of traditional and innovative crafts, including tableware, collectors' baskets, trays, and natural jewelry. These women are now able to earn an income to supplement the family budget without leaving their families.
Swazi baskets are made from sisal, which is an invasive weed. Sisal is used in Swaziland to make cattle fences. Because it is a weed, it is ideal for craft production since harvesting does not threaten the country's natural biodiversity. In making sisal baskets, tableware and jewelry, every step is carried out by hand since machine-prepared sisal yields inferior results. Before sisal is ready for making Swazi baskets, the fibers must be stripped, cleaned, and spun by hand. The weaving of the products is also a labor intensive task; it takes approximately 15 hours to spin the fine yarn for an 18cm diameter Swazi basket and the same time again to complete the weaving.
In our experience, Tintsaba baskets are markedly superior to the other Swazi baskets we have seen. Tintsaba has taken a traditional craft and made it better. By taking the best basket makers and having them grade the baskets, with the makers paid based on grade, the quality of the baskets has improved to the degree that we can tell a Tintsaba basket from any other Swazi basket almost from across a room.