Video

Kuba Square or Kasai Velvet – Democratic Republic of Congo

Civil wars, famine and diseases in the Democratic Republic of Congo have caused thousands of deaths. Through it all, the people of the Congo did not let their ongoing suffering prevent them from producing the bold-patterned handmade raffia cloth. Crafted from the leaves of raffia palm trees, women would colour the fibres and process them into a material ideal for weaving baskets, hats, carpets and textiles. Shumba, a Congolese woman in her 50s, walks a long distance every week to find the yellow raffia fibres to dye them into the red and black hues that would serve as the base for these works of art.

05:05

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