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Rwandese Art of Basket Weaving

Hey there, I’m Oluwalanu, a blogger who loves exploring African cultures.

Today, we’re discussing the age-old tradition of weaving baskets among Rwandese women.

In recent times, Rwandese baskets have become increasingly popular around the world. They are sought after for their unique, intricate, and colorful designs. These baskets are a beautiful addition to any home, office, or space in general. People hang them on their walls, put them on their coffee tables or use them to hold fruit and vegetables. But how many really know the history of Rwanda baskets and what they represent to Rwandese femininity?

Since ancient times, Rwandese women have woven baskets. Like many African crafts, it is a skill that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, weaving is not just a skill in Rwandese culture, it also symbolizes a girl’s transition into womanhood. As a female child in Rwanda makes her transition into womanhood, her mother teaches her the special skill of weaving baskets.

In earlier times, the agaseke baskets were the most popular of baskets woven by Rwandese women. The agaseke is a cylindrical basket with a pointy cone lid. The basket had many uses in ancient Rwanda. It was used to store things like crops from farming and clothes in the home.

However, after the genocide of 1994, basket weaving came to have a newfound purpose. Women in communities would gather together to weave. It became a bonding exercise and a way Rwandese women could rebuild the peace of their country. The agaseke became not only a symbol of culture but also a symbol of peace. Thus the agaseke basket became nicknamed, the peace basket. Now, the basket has become a symbol of national pride. The agaseke basket symbolizes peace, hope and opportunity. I spotted the agaseke all over the capital city of Kigali and even on the country’s currency, the Rwandese francs.

Today, Rwandese women weave many other types of baskets besides the agaseke. While at Muhanga, I had a great opportunity to see a basket weaver at work. It was amazing to see how the baskets are made and understand just how much work it takes to make just one of these beautiful baskets.

To weave a basket in Rwanda, the weaver needs a few things. Firstly, my guide explained to me that they go into the forest and cut sweet grass and then process the sisal plant into fibers. Afterward, the sisal fibers are dyed into the colors the weaver wants for the basket and then the sisal fibers are woven over the sweet grass in a spiral shape.

Earlier in my trip, I mentioned in one of my posts that banana leaves are also used to weave baskets. These baskets are a bit rarer than the ones made of sisal fibers but they are every bit as beautiful. They are actually a favorite of mine.

After watching the artisan weave for a few minutes, I asked her if I could try. It was quite simple to use the needle to cover the sweet grass but I definitely need a lot of practice to be able to create one on my own. You can watch a video of my experience on my Instagram at

If you would love to have one of these beautiful pieces of Rwandese culture in your home, you can purchase one of these baskets from our IHUNAYA KIGALI collection coming tomorrow on

See you again soon!




Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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come to you.

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