Authentic Africa: Discover the Artisans
The story of our deep, heartfelt affection for the incredible communities and traditional artworks of Southern Africa began more than 50 years ago with the very first handcrafted treasures brought back to San Francisco. This authentic, adventurous, cultural region has truly become part of who we are. Read more...Shop the Africa Collection ›
The story of our deep, heartfelt affection for the incredible communities and traditional artworks of Southern Africa began more than 50 years ago with the very first handcrafted treasures brought back to San Francisco. This authentic, adventurous, cultural region has truly become part of who we are.
During their journeys in Africa, our World Market merchants work with small often women- or family-owned companies. They frequently sit down with the artisans themselves to learn about how the crafts are made and the inspiration behind their designs. The people who create these beautiful pieces embody amazing spirit and pride; they're also doing remarkable things to uplift and empower their communities!
We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a visual trek through one of the most unique and extensive collections of authentic African finds we've ever presented. Explore the artisan stories we've gathered. Discover for yourself why Africa holds such a special place in our hearts (as, we hope, these treasures may in yours).
Gone Rural is dedicated to economic empowerment for women, ecological sustainability, and it is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. In 2006 the company formed a nonprofit to assist women and their communities with education, water sanitation, and health, including HIV prevention.
The woman artisans who weave these vibrant baskets do so at their own homes, which allows for daily household tasks and caring for their families. The baskets are crafted in intricate traditional Swazi designs, which provide undeniable authenticity and beauty.
The women artisans who weave these vibrant baskets do so at their own homes, which allows for daily household tasks and caring for their families. The baskets are woven from sustainably grown fibers, all hand-dyed in a rainbow of hues from eco-conscious dyes, and no electricity at all is used in their creation. Classic Swazi designs embellish each, which helps to proliferate this ancient tradition.
Kapula Candles is situated in the Overberg region, near the most southern point of the continent. It was formed 20 years ago by Ilse Appelgryn, who sought to blend the art of candle painting with traditional African designs, all the while bringing much needed fair wages to an area where unemployment levels are normally
Of its 106 permanent staff members, 96% are women - one of the many reasons we whole-heartedly support this admirable organization.
Premium-quality ingredients, fully refined wax and non-toxic pigments help Kapula Candles stand out across the globe. The intricate hand-painted patterns take inspiration from all around: The landscape, the wildlife, and the heritage of the people. The resulting candles warm with their bright, vibrant spirit.
Established in 1994, Wola Nani is one of the oldest non-governmental nonprofits in Cape Town. Admirable for its beautiful products alone, this dedicated organization goes above and beyond, providing income for its previously unemployed women artisans fraught with the far-reaching effects of HIV and AIDS. The earnings offer them financial independence and help them provide for their families.
Children, as those most vulnerable to the effects of poverty and disease, are a main focus for Wola Nani. The company works to offer children and women counseling, support groups, clinics, testing and education in a region where up to 25% of the population suffers from HIV and AIDS. Their philosophy of, 'we embrace and develop one another,' is most inspiring.
These unique bowls are very cleverly crafted. To start, a plastic bowl is covered in paper mache. Then colorful can labels and other patterned papers are cut into strips and carefully applied to the inside and outside, creating a layered look.
The Tabaka Hills in Kisii, Kenya are one of the best sources of soapstone in the world, and they're the backdrop for a long history of African soapstone carving. Kisii Soapstone is renowned for the handsome, skillfully carved pieces crafted by its assembly of gifted artisans.
World Market is proud to have partnered with this fantastic organization for many years. The artistry and craftsmanship showcased by Kisii Soapstone carvings is a rare treat, and we're thrilled to be able to offer these high-quality finds to our customers.
Locally quarried soapstone is transported to the workshops of Kisii Soapstone artisans, where the soft, high-quality stone is broken into workable pieces. A small knife called a kisu is used to meticulously hand carve unique details
After two years of living in the U.S. where she received countless compliments on her stunning Zulu jewelry, the founder of Jabulani returned to South Africa in 1990 with the goal of bringing that one-of-a-kind style to the world.
Jabulani endeavors help disadvantaged local people by employing many of the women living in the surrounding rural areas. The beading can be done from home, which allows valuable time for necessary daily activities like farming and tending to family, while earning an income.
The unique patterns and lively colors incorporated into Jabulani jewelry echo with ancient tradition. Each carefully hand beaded piece is inspired by authentic jewelry that has customarily adorned members of the Zulu tribe for ages. This unique style lends itself to fashion in every part of the world, even today.