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Silver Jewelry with Meaning - The Tuaregs of Agadez

Among the nomadic Tuareg people of northern Africa, jewelry has meaning. After all, a nomadic people have little incentive to cart loads of trendy, meaningless paraphernalia. Livestock and vehicles traversing untamed, inhospitable terrain of the Sahara desert require thoughtful consideration before adding to the loads they bear. Therefore, the items the Tuareg often serve multiple purposes--and that includes jewelry.
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Choosing The Best Natural Fiber That Suits You..

Zawadee features a colorful array of fashion scarves, wraps, blankets, and throws all fabricated from merino wool, mohair, or bamboo. How do you choose which fiber best suits you? We break it down the fiber characteristics for you so you can make a choice you’ll love.
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Enter the World of the Makonde Shetani

There has been resurgence in the popularity of African art, especially when it comes to wood carvings and traditional African works of art. When most people envision African art, they are quite often thinking about the beautiful hand carvings created by the Makonde of Tanzania and Mozambique.
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Fascinating Artisans of the Bazaruto Archipelago of Mozambique

The Bazaruto Archipelago is a region in Mozambique consisting of a group of six islands, just off the mainland coast of Southeast Africa.
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More than $20,000 for Moving Forward’s Next Step Program!

It was an evening of music and movement at Moving Forward’s Moroccan Nights Gala last Friday night as hundreds gathered to celebrate and honor Marie Fiorellino Di Poce, founder of ETA Vaughan Women’s Shelter & Outreach Centre.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home was pleased to participate in this worthwhile event.

We spent an enjoyable evening talking to gala participants about our artwork, jewelry, sculpture and home decor. Our lovely handcrafted African wildlife were highly popular! Our Maasai Table Decor benefits both street children and women in need of employment through the Arusha Street Children Project. Moroccan_Nights_Gala_Booth The event included Moroccan ambiance and talented belly dancers, all which helped raise more than $20,000 for the Moving Forward 2015 Foundation. Ms. Di Poce received the organization’s Community Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to assisting victims of domestic violence in York Region. “Moving Forward vision is to bring hope and empowerment to struggling York Region residents. Marie’s community work is the embodiment of this, and we are humbled to honour her,” said Tony Di Battista, Gala Committee Chair and Treasurer of Moving Forward. The Moroccan Nights event hosted community leaders and councillors, including City of Vaughan’s Ward 3 Councillor and Moving Forward’s own Board Member Rosanna DiFrancesco, who spoke passionately about the work Moving Forward has done. Town of Georgina’s Mayor Robert Grossi hosted the live auction, which helped raise additional funds for the Gala. Moroccan_Nights_Gala “We are so fortunate for support of so many, including an incredible group of volunteers who worked tirelessly on our Gala. As a result, our Next Step micro loan program will be able to help even more of those in need,” commented Luigi Presta, President of Moving Forward’s Board.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home's micro-funding efforts in Africa are well aligned with the Moving Forward Foundation's mission of assisting those in need, which made it even more enjoyable to be part of their gala evening.

Moving Forward 2015 is a registered charity that provides support and financial assistance to struggling families in York Region.
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7 Signs You Should Invest in Makonde Art

One of the most interesting forms of African art - one that we are seeing more and more in homes around the world - is Makonde artwork and sculpture Makonde artwork and sculpture. It is the visual appeal and abstract nature of the hand carvings especially that intrigue people, making these pieces very desirable in both home and office décor. About Makonde Art Makonde art has become popular in Western culture because of the fascinating nature of the pieces and the history of the Makonde culture. The Makonde peoples from Mozambique and Tanzania are known for their hand carved wood pieces in the global artistic community. Abstract Makonde Carving Abstract Makonde Carving The pieces are highly desirable because of the high quality African Blackwood (Mpingo) used, and the intricate carving details which are incorporated into a variety of household objects, sculptures and masks created by Makonde artisans. Makonde artists are best known for their masks. The carvings are based on the mythical spirit – the Shetani. The Shetani, like much of Makonde art expressiveness, takes on many abstract forms and is known to represent spirits, humans, and animal forms. 7 Signs You Should Invest in Makonde Art
  • You are a fan of wood carvings: If you love wood carvings, there are perhaps none finer than those from the Makonde. From wood masks, sculptures, and even household items, there is no shortage of intriguing pieces to add to your personal collection.
  • Your home is filled with unique items: If your home décor and design is based on unique items, a piece from the Makonde will fit in perfectly. Add a piece on your mantel, in a display case, or make it the focal point of your living room. Selecting a Limited Edition carving will add a unique touch to any room.
  • You want rare items: No two pieces of Makonde art are the same. The pieces are not common here in North America, and you can spend hours looking for a piece that has a rare look and the meaning that you desire.
  • You are an art collector: No art collection is complete without a unique piece from the Makonde artisans of Tanzania or Mozambique. The high degree of detail and mystique in these pieces make them a must-have for your collection.
  • You have been to Africa and love the culture: One trip to Africa is all you need to fall in love with the art and culture of the Makonde. Having the chance to see artisans first hand and view the intricate carvings and masks in person will make you want to invest, Bringing Africa Home with you
  • The Shetani has you intrigued: There is something very intriguing and fascinating about the mythology and story of the Shetani and the dominant role it plays in African culture. It is represented in so many different ways, and the diverse humanistic and animalistic forms it takes on in Makonde art is attention grabbing.
  • You are looking for an out of the ordinary décor piece: If you want to break out of cookie cutter design, adding an African mask or unique sculpture is the perfect solution. A piece from the Makonde can easily become the centerpiece or focal point of a room in your home. Fusion or global décor is beautifully communicated by the addition of a unique piece of African handcarved sculpture.
How many of these signs have you identified in yourself? Is it time to invest in Makonde art and Bring Africa Into Your Home? shop limited edition collection shop limited edition collection
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Zawadee Gears Up to Help End Multiple Sclerosis


Zawadee - Bring Africa Home sponsors Spokes and Folks Team

An astounding 1,714 cyclists on 143 teams will come together on July 26th-27th, 2014 to take part in a ride that will make a difference - Gear Up to End MS - Grand Bend to London, Ontario and back - 150 km. Proceeds raised fund both world-class research and innovative programs and services across Canada.


image-068859-edited Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin which is a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system. According to the MS Society of Canada, one-hundred thousand Canadians live with MS. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world ranging from one MS case per 500 people to one per 1000 across the country. Canada is a high risk area for the disease; a disease that occurs more often in countries that are further away from the equator such as Canada. Based on current incidence rates, the MS Society of Canada estimates that approximately 1000 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Canada each year, which means three more Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day. View the informative MS Society of Canada video (below) to learn more about the impact of Multiple Sclerosis and please consider sponsoring our team - Spokes and Folks.MS_Video

Why Zawadee is sponsoring Spokes and Folks to Gear Up to End MS:

Every day 3 more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. We don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure. Your support means families who are impacted by this often devastating disease do not have to face MS alone. Please help us make a difference!

Help Mustafa end MS!

This year will be my 9th Year riding for Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour and helping to create awareness around Multiple Sclerosis which affects many Canadians. Thank you, signature-1 Mustafa Salemwalla Spokes and Folks Team ZawadeeRides

Our "Zawadee Family" on the 2010 Ride


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The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis - How 1,710 Cyclists Raised 1.34 Million Dollars in One Weekend

The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis – How 1,710 cyclists raised 1.34 million dollars in 1 weekend! It seems unbelievable but it is indeed true. Combine one weekend – one large gathering of committed bike riders – 150 km – and what do you get? 1.34 million dollars raised to continue the fight against multiple sclerosis – an unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system. Zawadee – Bring Africa Home is justifiably proud of their sponsored team – Spokes and Folks – who raised almost $10,000. Go Spokes and Folks!

Our Zawadee-Sponsored Team – Spokes and Folks

Spokes and Folks had the youngest rider in the entire field – Ali Salemwalla – Mustafa Salemwalla’s nephew. More coming about Ali’s incredible achievement and contribution in a future blog.

Ali Salemwalla rides to fight Multiple Sclerosis Ali Salemwalla – the youngest rider at 11 years of age in a field of 1,710 cyclists

We’d like to share a little background (and some photos and videos) with you in the hopes that next year, you’ll join the ride or sponsor a rider. Rob Brooks is an 18 year veteran of the MS Bike Tours and is an ardent supporter of the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Rob has been involved in Squash for over 50 years – as a squash pro, a coach, a board and committee member, a squash club owner and as a volunteer. Rob joined Squash Ontario’s Board of Directors as Vice President and then served 3 years as one of the association’s most successful and respected presidents.

Mustafa interviews Rob Brooks about his history and devotion to the fight against MS

Rob credits John and Lori Burgess for his introduction to the MS Bike Tours. John and Lori told him that, in addition to providing much needed support to fight MS, it would be “the best weekend of the year”. And, we are here to tell you – they were right! Spokes and Folks beloved Captain – another “Robert” – is Bob Mansbridge – a seasoned business exec and also a long term veteran of the MS Bike Tour. Bob is extremely dedicated but an added bonus is that if you hear laughter, Bob’s probably the cause! His devotion and upbeat attitude are an inspiration to all of us. We’re very proud that Bob has traditionally been the single largest individual fund raiser on the team and “leads the way” in raising awareness about MS.

We hope you, like us, are impressed with what this large group of bicyclists achieved this year and will consider participation and/or support next year. Zawadee – Bring Africa Home believes in the power of empowerment and will continue to sponsor Spokes and Folks in their remarkable pursuit.

Please visit our website to learn more about Zawadee's empowering philanthropic commitments. We support the pursuit of clean drinking water and also micro-fund artists, entrepreneurs and students.

MS_Team_Zawadee Our Zawadee Family Riding to Fight Multiple Sclerosis Stay tuned for our blog about Ali – the 11 year old marvel who completed this ride. Ali explains why he stepped up to the plate and what he learned by doing so. Ali was the youngest rider in the entire group. A heart warming and inspiring tale for certain!
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This Young Man Is A Shining Example: How An 11 Year Old Helped In The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon" (Paul Brandt).

Moon_Reach_for_the_Sky
photo credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via photopin cc

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home sponsored the Spokes & Folks Team in the recent London to Grand Bend "Gear Up to End MS" ride. Doing so was a life-enriching experience for our entire Zawadee family.

You can read our blog "THE FIGHT AGAINST MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS - HOW 1,710 CYCLISTS RAISED 1.34 MILLION DOLLARS IN ONE WEEKEND" (if you haven't already) for a bit of background on the ride and our team. But we also had an astounding experience that transcended everything else that happened that weekend. We had the youngest rider in a field of 1,710 cyclists - Ali Salemwalla - 11 years of age. A delightful young man, Ali is Mustafa Salemwalla's (our CEO) nephew. Ali_Salemwalla We were so taken aback that such a young person was equal to completing the 150 km ride, we almost missed a great opportunity . . . to find out why Ali was so committed to this cause. So we asked him, and discovered a young man with an extraordinary sense of commitment AND purpose that knocked us off our feet. Please view the video (below) to find out how - and why - Ali made the decision to challenge himself for the benefit of others. It will both encourage you to do more yourself and warm your heart at the same time. Youngest_Rider_at_the_2014_Multiple_Sclerosis_Grand_Bend_to_London_Charity_Ride We hope you are as inspired and amazed with Ali's achievement as we are. Please consider sponsoring our Spokes & Folks Team for next year's Gear Up to Fight MS Ride or perhaps join the ride yourself. We know Ali would be pleased to see your support and in turn, you would be paying it forward, perhaps inspiring other young people to "reach for the sky" themselves!
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Egyptian Papyrus: Fascinating Stories for Your Walls!

The art of Egyptian Papyrus paintings brings the past alive - depicting daily life, mythology, gods and goddesses and momentous historical events. But, it was almost lost forever!

Egyptian Papyrus paintings

Egyptian Papyrus paintings

A Brief History

Papyrus was extremely important to ancient Egyptians and helped transform Egyptian society.

Once the technology of papyrus making was developed, its method of production was kept secret allowing the Egyptians to have a monopoly on it. The first use of papyrus paper is believed to have been 4000 BC.

The raw material to make papyrus paper comes from the Cyperus papyrus plant which grew along the banks of the Nile. Cyperus papyrus was not only used to make paper but was also used in the manufacture of boats, rope and baskets. Papyrus paper was ancient Egypt's largest export!

An Almost Lost Art

The Arab people developed a method for producing pulp paper which was durable and lightweight. It was easier to produce but was not as durable as papyrus.

Nevertheless, this new form of paper production led to a decline in papyrus production and cultivation of Cyperus papyrus plants. Eventually, the papyrus plant disappeared from the Nile. Imagine, the plant that represented Egypt's greatest export - papyrus paper - was no longer important!

Papyrus paper production ceased and was not revived until about 1969 when an Egyptian scientist - Dr. Hassan Ragab - started a papyrus plantation near Cairo. But it wasn't easy! Ancient Egyptians had kept the exact production method a secret and had left no written records. Dr. Ragab persevered and figured out how to make papyrus paper. As a result, papyrus making and use is back!

A Lovely Addition to Home or Office Décor

Papyrus art is often used to record a momentous historical event - tell a story - show a facet of every day life.

This makes papyrus artwork not only a conversation starter - it turns your wall into a story telling centre. Papyrus paintings are often so intricate, you will discover something new every time you look at them!

Please take a few moments to review our Papyrus Art Collection. We think the stories told are intriguing and the colours used are simply lovely. We hope you do too!

Shop Zawadee Limited Edition

Shop Zawadee Limited Edition

Bring the past alive in your home or office with Egyptian papyrus depicting the daily life, mythology, gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt.

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The Increasing Popularity of Drumfests Around the World

Drums have been around since the dawn of time

They are deeply rooted in history, spirituality, tribal ceremonies, and, of course, music. Every culture has a unique drumming history. Many primitive cultures used drums to celebrate battle victories and for rituals. Others used drums for worship as well as for music. The drum permeates the history of many cultures. tribal_drum In recent years, we have experienced a resurgence in the use of drums in popular music. Unique drums from around the world create new and collaborative music that mesh modern music with the drum beats of the past. The popularity of drums has led to the rise in growth in the number of drum festivals and ceremonies held around the world each year.

African Drum Culture: About the Djembe Drum

African Djembe Mali African Djembe Mali One of the many popular types of drums is the Wassoulou percussion Djembe drum. With West African roots, these drums are made from dried and very dense heartwood from Mali – giving the drum its unique sound quality. The name “Djembe” (meaning “everyone gathers together in peace”) is symbolic of how the drum was used in African culture. The Djembe drum is able to create a number of sounds, making it a popular instrument for modern day musicians looking to add new dimensions to their music. Its goblet style look also makes it very collectible as it can easily double as a décor item in any room of your home or office.

Drum Festivals Around the World

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of drum festivals held globally, many of which occur in Canada. Drum festivals attract thousands of people from all walks of life, bring together many different cultures, and offer the unique experience of being able to see people of all cultures drumming and dancing to an inspirational beat. Some of the styles of music you will experience at a drum festival include:
  • Ivory Coast
  • Afro-Cuban
  • Afro-Brazilian
  • West African
  • Calypso
  • Chinese Waist Drumming
  • Brazilian Samba Reggae
  • Jamaican Reggae

What's the Drum Festival experience?

Fun - lots of fun. Great music, too! Drum festivals attract people of all ages. They celebrate international music and the art of drumming and its role in history. The goal is to bring together multiple cultures and create a common sense of community. Here is what you can expect:
  • Learning circles and educational workshops about drumming and dancing
  • Music demonstrations from musicians around the world
  • Interactive performances and the opportunity to try out these unique instruments
  • Exhibitors and artists displaying unique cultural items
  • Drum-offs and performances from world renowned drummers and musicians

Popular Drumfests Around the World

You are in luck if you are interested in checking out a drum festival. Popular drums fests held in Canada include: There are also many other smaller community drum festivals that are held each year, so be sure to keep an eye on your community events calendar. International drum festivals include: Ready to experience the history of the drum? Want to experience wonderful cultural music from around the world? Check out a Drum Fest and get moving to the beat of your own drum.

The Holiday Gift Giving season is fast upon us!

Shop Zawadee Shop Zawadee for unique and interesting gift ideas for all your friends and family. Use our interactive map tool to shop all five regions of the African continent.

Shop Zawadee Storewide Shop Zawadee Storewide photo credit:LeRamz photopin cc
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Homowo – The African Festival of the Rains - Another Lovely Way to Show Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a celebration that is observed in a select few countries around the world. However, while it is not a universal celebration, many other countries and regions do share similar festivals and celebrations. In Africa, it is known as Festival of the Rains or the Homowo Festival. homowo ceremony

About the Homowo Festival

The Homowo Festival is a traditional harvest celebration that is celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana in West Africa. It is the largest cultural festival of its kind in the country. The word Homowo means “hooting at hunger,” and the origins of the festival are directly tied to the migration of the Ga people to Ghana. As the story goes, the Ga people travelled nomadically for many years before settling on the west coast – a place they still reside to this day. Along their journey, the Ga people experienced famine; however, rather than giving in, they supported each other through the difficult times and survived. It said that the people were inspired by the famine, which led to large food production processes eventually creating a bumper harvest. Once they settled and their harvest became plentiful, they held a huge feast where they reflected upon and laughed at the hunger and difficult times they overcame. This is known as the first Homowo celebration. With the Ga people’s hunger ended, it’s said they “hooted at hunger.” Homowo photo credit: waynemiranda via photopin cc Today the festival includes a procession of priests sprinkling kpokpoi in the streets, along with drumming, singing, dancing and horn blowing. At home, families share the traditional kpokpoi in a common bowl, with everyone joining in a festival dance called “oshi joo.” The festival traditionally ends on a Sunday with a closing ceremony known as “Noowala Hamo,” where friends and family visit, exchange the Homowo greeting and settle disputes and misunderstandings.

Other Cultural Celebrations: The First Fruits Ceremony

Other Africans also have similar festivals during harvest season. One of the most common is called “first fruits.” This involves several days of planning to bless the newly harvested crop and purify the people prior to eating the food from the harvest.

A Recipe for Traditional Homowo Meal

As with other festivals and celebrations around the world, Homowo has a traditional meal, known as Kpokpoi.

kpokpoi Flickr photo credit: Greenplanethg The meal is made using steamed corn dough that is mixed with palm oil. It’s traditionally served with fish and palm soup. Sticking with tradition, when the meal is prepared, the head of the family sprinkles some of the kpokpoi on the doorstep of the home. This is symbolic of feeding the spirts of past family members of the home.

Here is a recipe to make this traditional dish: Kpokpoi

Ingredients
  • 6 okra
  • 6 cups of dry corn
  • Salt
  • Corn husks
  • 1 pint of palm oil
Meal Preparation
  • Soak corn for 2 days prior to cooking
  • Wash and grind the corn
  • Sprinkle water on top of corn meal and cover overnight
  • Once corn meal has sat overnight, rub through a sieve.
  • Place a steamer over a pot of boiling water and seal edges with a little corn dough
  • Cover bottom of steamer with clean corn husks
  • Put sifted corn meal into the steamer and allow it to cook over the steam for about half an hour until the kpokpoi gives out a yeasty aroma
  • Slice okra and cook in little water until tender
  • Mash okra and add salt
  • Take kpokpoi out of steamer
  • Sprinkle with salted cool water, using a wooden spoon to break all the lumps
  • Mix with mashed okra
  • If palm oil is used heat and mix with kpokpoi evenly
  • Serve with palm nut soup and fish
Recipe Source: Ecoport.org We hope you enjoyed exploring a different way of expressing thanks. We are committed to "provoking humanity" by learning about how others observe and celebrate. Cover Photo: photo credit: ghanaweb.com
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