Chic African Culture Blog

Did you know?

1. No African country names begin with the letters F, H, I, J, O, P, Q, V, W, X, or Y.

2. Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent.

3. African tech startups raise billions of dollars annually, seven African start-ups were included in the World Economic Forum 2021 cohort of 100 Technology Pioneers.

Botswana Palm Tree Art

Palm Tree Art.

The Hyphaene Petersiana tree is locally known in the African country of Botswana as the Mokolwane Palm. The Mokolwane Palm is a tree that produces the leaves used in the internationally popular Botswana traditional basket weaving art.

African basket weaving art

Botswana Palm Tree Art

Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

Mokolwane Palm Tree grows from Central Africa to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in dry sandy areas, often away from rivers.

Hand basket weaving photo by Visite Botswana

There are a series of small villages alongside the West Side of the Okavango Delta Botswana that create the woven art. The around 68,000 sq km or 17 million acre Okavango Delta marshlands and plains are home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large animals, such as lions and cheetahs, white and black rhinoceros, and the endangered African wild dog.

Women were walking greater distances every year, frequently a full day's journey, to find young Mokolwane Palms to harvest in order to create their woven art. 

The women of the villages, almost all of whom are basket weavers, were increasingly reluctant to undertake the journey due to the risks of traveling alone far from home. 

Young Mokolwane trees have thin blade-like leaves, which are sought-after by weavers for basketry. This is one of the problems affecting the scarcity of the young Mokolwane Palm. 

As the Mokolwane palm ages it grows up 25 meters or 80 feet tall, with its characteristic swollen in the middle trunk and feather-like leaves on the top of the tree. The Mokolwane also bear fruits, which are edible and can take from 10-20 years to yield.

Over the years, there have been major efforts to cultivate and establish farms for growing the Mokolwane Palm. Due to the scarcity of the tree, residents now buy the necessary raw materials for basket weaving from markets. 

The Palm leaves they purchase are already bleached and dyed and are ready to be worked. A small Mokolwane Palm basket can take a few days to create while large complicated baskets may take many months of painstaking work.

Overview of basket weaving materials, uses and techniques near Chobe National Park in Botswana.


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Africa is surrounded by water but is not an island, here are a few African Island facts.

Madagascar is the 4th large island in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean supporting a unique biology, about 90% of its plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth.

Composed of 155 islands, Seychelles is Africa's smallest country. By far the largest island is Mahe, home to about 90% of the population and the site of its capital city of Victoria.

Cabo Verde has a strategic location 310 miles or 500 km from the west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site.

Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent. Continents can not be considered islands because of their size and also by historic definition since many people who study geography define islands and continents as two different things.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

Chic African Culture


Be better than average and support African history and culture. Since 2008 Chic African Culture and The African Gourmet highlight Africa through her food and culture. Contact us culture1africangourmet@gmail.com