Palm, Sand and Fish: Traditional Technologies of the Daughters of the Azanian Coast

Project Description

This project therefore seeks to understand ‘how we can best promote, record, preserve, disseminate and utilize maritime-based traditional technologies of the Kenyan coast for economic benefits of women groups and for heritage’s sake. Targeted maritime women traditional technologies are those linked to the ocean and its shoreline namely basketry, weaving and pottery making. These technologies’ knowledge keepers who are mainly women produced vessels/containers which were used by maritime communities for domestic and income generation for centuries. Using data on Maritime’s women traditional technologies we will come up with innovative ways of improving the production and sales as well as create awareness. Particularly we aim to document and promote the threatened crafts, to revitalize understanding of their value and re-empower the practitioners through introduction of value addition to the already existing traditional crafts, creation of crafts’ women groups in order to improve bargaining power and collective marketing strategies, diversification of forms and style through market research and training in order to be relevant to the current market trends as well as involving the youth for continuity. The targeted handicrafts are pottery, basketry and traditional roofing materials. The technological and functional attributes of these crafts benefit directly from ocean products which occur in nature and therefore are easily accessible. Currently both these practices and the practitioners are threatened due to offshore development agendas, globalization and effects of climate change.


Location: Kenya

PI: Freda Nkirote (British Institute in Eastern Africa)

Co-Is: Matthew Davies (University College London), Doseline Kiguru (Kabarak University)

Size: Medium

Partners: British Institute in Eastern Africa, University College London, National Museums of Kenya

Project Resources

The Palm, Sand and Fish Team have created a map to show where the women’s groups are that the project is interacting with:

Palm Sand and Fish Womens Groups Locations
Palm Sand and Fish Womens Groups Locations

The following images are artistic impressions from John Savala, an artist working on the project. They depict, coloured thatching, potters and the value they add to their work by decoration: