Part two of our African basketry series...
Batonga Baskets [also called Tonga Baskets] are woven by the Batonga people of the Zambezi Valley. Like Makenge Baskets, these baskets are created as an agricultural tool for winnowing (grain separation) ground maize, which is tossed through the basket to remove any rough pieces or husk.
Woven from the tree bark dyed fronds of the Ilala Palm tree, the centre of the baskets are woven in a square which radiates out into a circle with beautiful and distinct geometric patterns. Batonga Baskets woven on the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi Valley are characterised by their flatness, whereas those woven on the Zambia side tend to be deeper with a wider centre square.
In recent years these beautiful baskets have proved popular with contemporary interior decoration as an alternative to traditional wall art.