There are so many arts and crafts stores and markets in my hometown Lusaka but the one that stood out for me is the Kabwata Cultural Village. I came across this little beautiful paradise when I was working on one of my freelance projects on local arts and crafts. I have been in-love since then.
Located along Burma Road in Kabwata, Lusaka, the cultural village is the hub of all things arts and crafts related. Think of beads, African print fabrics locally known as chitenges/wrappers, paintings, drums, traditional accessories, traditional music instruments, you name it. They can all be found here at this little beautiful market. It is like that one stop shop for such related shopping, and definitely the place to visit if you are looking to get a gift or souvenir for your family back home if you are visiting Zambia. And, did I mention that most of the artists and sellers at this market actually live there!
But first, just look at these pretty handbags my girl Tina and I are carrying. Aren’t they the cutest!?
These African print bags cost about $5 on average but if you’re unlucky you will get one at about $7. Anything above $10 is a rip-off unless the designer opted for a much more fancy design with some diamond and gold embellishments somewhere. HAHA.
Now check out some of the cool stuff you can find at the market. Let’s start with;
Most of these paintings are drawn on Batik clothes with the cheapest being around $10 and most expensive at about $15-20. The paintings generally represent life in the African wild and tell stories about our heritage and traditional village life that’s away from all the chaos that urban cities are known for. They’re definitely ‘great pieces of art.’
Just listening to Jonathan Ndilenge, an artist and resident at KCV telling me the stories behind these paintings almost had me wishing for a stool to sit on as I vicariously lived every moment of the tales of an authentic village life through him.
The artistry that goes into these carvings is beyond words. They’re beautiful and breathtaking. There are carvings of all forms of wildlife found here in Zambia and Africa at large, from small to big they’re all found at the market. Huge carvings like the one above cost a startling $1,500 or more! The much smaller carvings cost between $5 and $50 but I can promise you, they’re worth every cent.
Of all the carvings, the one that stood out for me for some reason and costing $50 is the one Jonathan called;
The Thinking Man
According to Jonathan, these beautiful baskets are made by the Tonga speaking people found mostly in the Southern Province of Zambia. Some are made from wood and some from sisal. They range from $5 to $15 depending on size and quality of materials used.
The Rest of the Cool Stuff!
There’s plenty of accessories to choose from…and definitely great for gifting someone.
A huge THANK YOU to Jonathan for being my tour guide during this trip especially that first time I visited the market and didn’t know my way around. Also thanks to my baby sister Eve and our new Canadian pal Tina Mattila for the awesome company during my second visit to the market.
Look out for my next piece on How to Save a Buck at the Arts and Crafts Market but before that, I think am gonna share with you guys some cool traditional music that Jonathan played for me with instruments that he sells right here at the market!!