The essence behind each piece of beaded Bantu jewelry made by the Bantu speaking people of South Africa lies in its bright colours and geometric pattern. Their accessories carry an allure that’s on one hand bold and on the other beautiful. Full-bodied, vibrant, energetic. Each item is a semblance of culture and talent, evident in the intricate beadwork of Bantu design. Little wonder it is out of a passion for this jewelry that Bantu Project – a Washington, DC-based jewelry company was born. However, the story doesn’t end there.
Although based in DC, Bantu Project’s founder, Haley is working to stimulate job creation in communities throughout Southern Africa. She does this by working directly with local artisans to curate and design traditional Bantu jewelry with a fresh twist. Bantu Project works with artisans in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia. All of this is in the effort to bring their wearable art to the world while giving back to their communities. I love sustainable and ethical brands. It is very commendable that Bantu Project works with locals to make their quality products accessible to many. The necklaces are nothing short of gorgeous and I especially love the Zulu strands.
There is a lot of history behind the Bantu. Although a linguistic classification, Bantu encompasses some 500 languages spoken by a large area of Africa from southern Cameroon eastward to Kenya and southward to South Africa. Twelve Bantu languages are spoken by more than five million people who occupy this area. Amongst them, the Bantu jewelry-making is usually done by women and passed down as a skill from one generation of females to the next. The colours and shapes of the pieces are also used to portray different meanings that are usually occasion-specific. For example, weddings, new births and other ceremonious or celebratory events. If you enjoyed reading this article and like what you see, I encourage you to browse more jewelry from Bantu Project at their website:https://www.bantuproject.com
Is this your first time coming across Bantu jewellery and what do you think? How about your thoughts on the artisans themselves who are creating such beautiful pieces? Drop a note below letting me know what you think of Bantu Project and their unique designs. Most of all, I would love to hear your sentiments about good work in fashion and its role in changing the lives of many in regions and communities across the world. I mean, it’s a pretty amazing initiative so why shouldn’t we talk about it? We need to tell our unique stories, strike intellectual fashion conversations and let the world know what amazing things are coming out of the continent of Africa.