Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

Free Shipping | 30-Day Money Back

Blog / Category_Getting To Know Africa

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. 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.

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 the 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 hand carved 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?

Read more

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

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.

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

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:
  • The London Drum Show
  • MEINL Drum Festival
  • Seoul Drum Festival

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!

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

Read more

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. 

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.”

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.

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:


  • 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
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.
Read more

A Guide to Family Tree Style Makonde Sculptures

One of the most popular and fascinating forms of Makonde art is sculpture – especially.  These pieces have become extremely popular today with art collectors and homeowners alike. Considering they come in many shapes, sizes, and types of carvings, it’s not surprising they are popping up all over the world!

Like any other piece of art, the history and origins of the Family Tree Style sculpture only adds to its intrigue.

Origins of Family Tree Style Sculptures

The Family Tree Style sculptures, which are also referred to as “Tree of Life,” date back to the late 1950s and an artistic style called Dimoongo – one of the eight major Makonde styles.

Professor Elias Jengo explains:

“A style called Dimoongo (power of strength), which a local political zealot later named Ujamaa, was introduced by the late Roberto Yakobo Sangwani who migrated into Tanzania from Mozambique in the late 1950s. The original style represented a winner in a wrestling match who was carried shoulder high by his colleagues represented in a cluster of figures. Some later versions were carved showing a female figure at the top of a cluster of figures. This was the beginning of a style known as the Makonde family tree.” With a history of name changes, tracking the Makonde Family Tree sculptures can be a little confusing for the average person. Dimoongo, Ujamaa, and Tree of Life all refer to the same style of art.

Significance of the Makonde “Family Tree”

Even though these carvings have been known by a number of different names, the significance and meaning of the carvings have remained the same over the years. Ujamaa means community and family. This meaning is also echoed in the “Tree of Life” pieces which speak to a common human ancestral heritage. This is why you often see symbols of support and generations of family. Overall, the piece brings out the community harmony the Makonde people strongly believe in.

Common Characteristics and Depictions

The sculptures, while they can take on a variety of shapes, forms, and sizes, have a number of common characteristics representing the symbolism and significance of the carvings. The carvings typically include:
  • A column of people, with one central figure surrounded by smaller figures.
  • One large figure at the top of the pole – often a central figure such as a tribal chief. More modern carvings typically have a female figure at the top.
  • They commonly depict members of extended family – often representing multiple generations.
  • People are often depicted climbing or holding each other up (representing support).
  • People are often shown performing traditional tasks and local work such as cooking or farming.

About the Artists and the Canvas

Family tree sculptures can be as tall as 6 feet, taking artisans up to 9 months to complete. However, they also come in many other sizes, ensuring you can find the perfect carving for your home or office decor.
  • The sculptures have become popular because of their intricate design and decor.
  • They are carved from African blackwood (also known as mpingo).
  • High quality pieces are carved from a single large tree trunk.

What really communicates the beauty of these carvings is their unparalleled, intricately detailed and delicate shapes, making these sculptures highly desirable. Please take a few moments to explore our collection of Family Tree Style Sculptures. They are fascinating pieces, deeply rooted in history. Bring a piece of Africa home with you today. Add a Family Tree Sculpture to your home or office. A unique and fascinating accent, they are also great conversation starters!

Read more

Help Stop Poaching In Africa – What You Need to Know

Most people have probably heard about the issues with poaching in Africa, and you may have even seen some of the images in National Geographic or on the Internet or television. What most people fail to realize, though, is how brutal and serious an issue poaching actually is.

Illegal wildlife trade is a $19 billion per year industry – something that is causing some of the most endangered species on earth to reach critically low levels. Without action, many of these species could become extinct a lot sooner than you think.

Putting Poaching in Africa into Perspective – Recent Poaching Statistics
  • In 2013, 1004 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. 
  • If poaching continues at the current rate, there will be no rhinos left in the wild by 2025.
  • Even though the ivory trade was banned in 1989, last year, poaching levels have returned to those of the 1980s.
  • 25,000 elephants were killed in Africa last year – this equates to 3 elephants every hour, every day.
  • At the turn of the 20th century, chimpanzees numbered between 1 and 2 million . . . now there are estimated to be fewer than 300,000 remaining in the wild. 

A New Approach to Catching Poachers – The Analytical Model of Poaching Behaviour in Africa. While many studies believe that technology is the solution, the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies has taken a different approach. They have developed the world’s first analytical model of poaching behaviour in Africa. The model has found that rather than trying to find the poachers, it’s more important to find the prey. Once the animals are identified in the wild, rangers can be sent out to the region to protect them against poachers. Read more about the model and findings from the project: http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/about-us/news/research-tom-snitch-featured-uk-telegraph

The issue with animal poaching is not an isolated topic. In fact, Hollywood star and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, has teamed up with Netflix to produce a film/documentary titled Virunga to create more awareness for this issue. The film follows a group of rangers at Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they attempt to protect endangered gorillas from poachers. “Films like Virunga are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible culture and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it,” says DiCaprio in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

The film will be released in theatres in New York and Los Angeles on November 7th. It will also be available on Netflix.

WATCH THE MOVIE TRAILER: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/80009431 LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FILM: http://virungamovie.com/

Zawadee Founder, Mustafa Salemwalla and his wife, Farhat, with renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall at a recent event


Jane’s work today focuses on inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, specifically chimpanzees. Her institute also includes community-centered conservation programs in Africa, including sustainable development projects that engage local people as true partners. To support the Jane Goodall Institute and to help fight the illegal bush meat trade and illegal poaching in Africa and help protect chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, rhinos, and more, you can make a donation here: Donate to the Jane Goodall Institute Please remember that Zawadee donates 2% of all sales of our African Wildlife products (carvings, sculptures, masks, etc.) to the World Wildlife Fund and The Jane Goodall Institute to help them protect species at risk.

Read more

The Magnificent Serengeti Migration: African Wildlife

Commonly referred to as one of the great wonders of the world, the migration of African wildlife over the Serengeti is one of the most beautiful things to see in Africa.

The Serengeti wildebeest migration is a movement of vast numbers. The wildebeest are accompanied by large numbers of zebra, gazelle, eland and impala along their journey. The groups of animals move in a similar pattern throughout the year, making it a continual process as they are constantly looking for fresh land to graze and high quality water sources. 

Zebras are African equids, related to the horse family. Their distinctive black and white coats come in different patterns unique to each individual zebra. Zebras are a social herd animal but, unlike their close relatives - horses and donkeys - have never been domesticated.

 Wildlife is frequently the subject of African artwork and crafts, as in these lovely African Zebra Masks....The actual time of the phases of the migration vary based on the rainfall patterns in Africa for a given year; however, there is a general timeline and pattern that is followed. The good news is you can actually observe the migration. Because of the somewhat predictive nature of the various animals and their migration patterns, thousands of people from around the world visit Maasai Mara National Reserve each year to get a glimpse of the famous Serengeti migration. Check out Expert Africa's interactive map showing the migration month by month.

The Wildebeest Migration: An Animation

We think you'll enjoy this great animated representation of the migration patterns of the Wildebeest by Go2Africa Safaris. If you have an interest in Africa (and safaris!) subscribe to the Go2Africa YouTube channel. Lots of great videos and top notch information.

The Wildebeest Migration by the Numbers

  • 1.4 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 350,000 gazelle migrate in a clockwise fashion. 
  • The migrating wildlife travel 1,800 miles each year in search of rain-ripened grass.
  • Wildebeest calving occurs late January through mid-March when over 80% of the female wildebeest give birth over a period of a few weeks. An estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during this period.

Migration Is Dynamic and Different Each Year

One of the common assumptions about the migration patterns of the Serengeti is they follow a circular route and are always moving forward. This is not the case. Migration patterns are not always a continuously forward motion in the same direction. Directions and patterns change frequently, something that makes seeing the migration in person somewhat of a challenge. According to Ultimate Africa Safaris, “They go forward, backwards, and to the sides; they mill around, they split up, they join forces again, they walk in a line, they spread out, or they hang around together. You can never predict with certainty where they will be; the best you can do is suggest likely timing based on past experience. You can never guarantee the Migration one hundred percent.”

This adds to the allure of the migration. It’s a dynamic process, and no two years are ever the same. National Geographic has produced a wonderful video which explains The Serengeti Migration beautifully. “In reality, there is no such single entity as ‘the migration.’ The wildebeest are the migration – there is neither start nor finish to their endless search for food and water, as they circle the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in a relentless sequence of life and death. The only beginning is the moment of birth” says acclaimed East African author and photographer, Jonathan Scott.

Predatory Threats

The migratory animals do not go unchallenged during the migration. There is no shortage of African carnivores that eagerly anticipate the presence of wildebeest. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and many others eagerly await the migration each year.

Phases of the Wildebeest Serengeti Migration

There are four main phases of the wildebeest Serengeti migration:
  • Phase 1 (February – March) This is the birthing period, with all pregnant mothers giving birth over a few weeks’ period.
  • Phase 2 (April – June) The wildebeest head west toward the bush land of Grumeti Reserve.
  • Phase 3 (July – September) The wildebeest head north toward Maasai Mara in Kenya to open plains.
  • Phase 4 (October – January) The wildebeest head back south slowly toward the birthing area to start the cycle over again.
   Please remember that Zawadee donates 2% of all sales of our African Wildlife products (carvings, sculptures, masks, etc.) to the World Wildlife Fund and The Jane Goodall Institute to help them protect species at risk.
Read more

The Tuareg: Nomadic Silver Craftsmen of Africa

Tuareg culture is rich in history and tradition. A semi-nomadic Berber people, the Tuareg inhabit a large area of the middle and western Sahara and travel throughout Algeria, Mali, Niger and as far as Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria. In fact, Tuareg people don't perceive the Sahara as one desert, but as many. They call the Sahara "Tinariwen" which means "the deserts". The Tuareg language is spoken by more than 1 million people. Extraordinary silversmiths, the Tuareg produce some of the most unique silver jewelry  in the world. 

Shopping for a unique piece of jewelry that will turn heads? Well, look no further. Zawadee carries a large collection of beautiful and elegant silver jewelry handcrafted by the Tuareg people. Check out our unique collection of eclectic silver necklaces, pendants, and earrings. 

The Fascinating Life of the Tuareg People

The Tuareg are a fiercely independent people who maintain their Berber ways. They produce stunning jewelry in bold and simplistic designs - very geometric and symmetrical. They believe that silver is the metal of the prophet and, in fact, Tuareg women often have a superstitious fear of gold and will not wear it.

Silver is a part of every family history, as it holds both symbolic and real value and is used for barter and trading.  Unique jewelry made from silver and often combined with other items collected along their travels, such as gemstones, rare woods and other fascinating materials.

The Tuareg People in Pop Culture

  • In 2003, Volkswagen named their new SUV line the Touareg (a common alternative spelling).

  • The 2005 film Sahara features a group of Tuareg

  • Spanish author Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa's novel Tuareg (1980) sold more than 5,000,000 copies and was adapted into a 1984 movie starring Mark Harmon entitled Tuareg – The Desert Warrior

Much of the Tuareg peoples’ cultural and artistic identity and resourceful and inventive spirit is expressed in their jewelry, as well as, leather and metal saddle decorations and swords. However, they have become known globally for their skill in jewelry making, primarily for their silver jewelry designs.

Necklaces worn by a Tuareg woman often depict her history and the story of her people, as well as her city of origin.

Each piece of Tuareg silver jewelry has special meaning. Each piece contains a message and historical symbols, which are passed down from generation to generation. Showcasing the intricate use of design in their silversmithing techniques, our Azel Collection will be sure to have that "must-have piece" to set off your fall and winter wardrobe. A wonderful choice as a holiday gift, or - what the dickins - to please yourself!


Read more

The Green Belt Movement: Making A Difference One Tree At A Time

“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope.”

The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is an environmental organization, based in Kenya, which seeks to empower communities to conserve the environment. It was founded in 1977 by Professor Wangari Maathai as an offshoot of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) in response to the requests of rural Kenyan women. These women noticed a number of environmental issues that were posing a threat to the African environment, namely the drying up of streams, unsecured food supplies.


The vision of the organization is to create “a values-driven society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their livelihoods and a greener, cleaner world.” This vision drives their mission of creating better environmental management and community livelihood through tree planting. 

How much of an impact has the Green Belt Movement had to date?

Here is a look at GBM by the numbers:
  • Number of GBM-supported community tree nursery groups 4,034

  • Number of indigenous seedlings raised by the community nurseries annually – 8,000,000 seedlings

  • Average number of trees planted in critical watershed areas annually – 5,000,000 trees

  • Number of tree planting sites in critical watersheds across Kenya – 6,500

  • Total number of trees planted since 1978 to date – over 51 million

  • Average survival rate – 70%

The Green Belt Movement’s Three Pillars of Activity:

  1. Community Empowerment and Education: GBM believes that education and community empowerment is important to help people understand the connection between a healthy environment and human activities.
  1. Planting Trees: GBM focuses on planting the right trees in the right locations to have a maximum impact on the ecosystem, helping to preserve the environment for years to come.
  1. Advocacy: GBM uses a grassroots approach to help local communities maintain a healthy and fruitful environment. However, GBM also has an international presence and advocates for environmental policies to protect forest ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa and the Congo Basin Rainforest Ecosystem.


About Wangari Maathai – The Founder of the Green Belt Movement

“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!”

Wangari Maathai was internationally recognized for her advocacy for human rights, democracy, and environmental conservation. She was the 2004 laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, author and former chairman of the National Council of Women of Kenya. Her work at the council led to the concept of community-based tree planting and the original concept for the Greenbelt Movement. Maathai passed away on September 25, 2011, but she left us a lasting legacy and made great impact on the Kenyan environment and community. Her awards, achievements and personal affiliations are too many to list. Her dozens of honorary degrees and awards are a testament to her impact on the environment.

Want to learn more about Wangari? Check out her publications:

  • The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience

  • Unbowed: A Memoir

  • The Challenge for Africa

  • Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World

Purchase copies of her books here NOTE: If you click through to purchase any item from Amazon, a percentage of the sale is donated to the Green Belt Movement.

DONATE to the Green Belt Movement

There are a number of ways to get involved with the Green Belt Movement and support this great cause:
TAKE 15% OFF Entire Order
Read more

The History of Boxing Day: South African Day of Goodwill

Similar to Black Friday in the United States, Boxing Day, which is held on the day after Christmas, is one of the most popular shopping days in Canada and in other parts of the world.

It’s a day where deal seekers are out en masse, looking to take advantage of huge sales. It’s a day where millions of Canadians get up early, it’s almost impossible to get a parking spot at your local mall, and there are line ups to get into stores – all in hopes of getting a smoking deal on a TV, buy that gift they didn’t get for Christmas, or to cash in their gift cards. Similar to Black Friday, online sales are increasingly becoming a popular way to shop on Boxing Day. In fact, some retailers are starting Boxing Day sales the week before Christmas! However, the Boxing Day we have come to know today is very different from its origins. The following takes a look at the history of Boxing Day.

Why "Boxing Day"?

While the exact origin of the name is not entirely clear, it’s believed to refer to the Christmas Boxes that were given to servants, tradesmen, and the poor by employers and the wealthy on the day after Christmas. Other interpretations of the name date back the Middle Ages and late Roman/early Christian era, where boxes were placed in areas of worship to collect donations for the poor and to collect special offers for the Feast of Saint Stephen. 

“The best clue to Boxing Day's origins can be found in the song ‘Good King Wenceslas.’ According to the Christmas carol, Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen's Day — Dec. 26 — when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Moved, the king gathered up surplus food and wine and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant's door.”

Modern Boxing Day

Boxing Day has been a national holiday in England, Canada, Ireland and Wales since 1871. While it used to be a day of charity, it is far from it today. In addition to it being a popular shopping day, today it has also become known as a day of sport. In England, it’s known for annual fox hunts and football, while in Canada it is known for the World Junior Hockey Tournament.

Is Boxing Day celebrated in other countries?

Outside of Canada and the UK, Boxing Day is commonly celebrated in many other commonwealth countries, each with a unique spin on how they celebrate the day:
  • Australia: The day is a federal holiday. However, in South Australia, the day is referred to as Procrastination Day.
  • Bahamas: The day is celebrated with a street parade and festival called Junkanoo.
  • New Zealand: The day is celebrated the same as in Canada.
  • South Africa: Known as the Day of Goodwill, it is a public holiday that most people spend at the beach.

Boxing Day is not formally celebrated in the United States. It is a public holiday in a number of southern states, but it’s widely referred to as Day after Christmas Day.

Watch for our Boxing Day Specials - up to 70% off selected items!

Read more

Serengeti Migration: Examining the Path of the African Zebra

Each year, millions of Serengeti wildebeests migrate across the African continent. But they are not the only ones. A number of different groups of animals move throughout Africa in a similar pattern each year, with the goal being to find water to drink and land to graze. Zebras are one of the largest of the secondary groups that are part of the Serengeti migration each year. In fact, more than 200,000 zebras participate in this amazing journey each year! 

About African Zebras

Zebras are African equids and are relatives of the horse family. They are easily identifiable by their black and white striped coat. Even though zebras may look the same, each zebra actually has a unique pattern. Like many other African animals, they are a social herd of animals, sticking together naturally, something that also helps them ward off predators such as lions, hyenas and many others.

Zebras Migrate Based on Environmental Factors

As outlined on eyesonafrica.net, zebras (and other African animals) “do not follow a calendar schedule, rather, they follow cues from the environment to tell them when the rains have reached an area and they then move there to take advantage of the fresh growth of grasses. The migration timing and pattern varies year to year.” The great news is that you can experience the migration of zebras in person. Imagine being able to see thousands of zebras congregated in the same place, grazing, caring for their young, and seeing many different African animals interact in their natural habitat. It would be a trip you won’t soon forget!

Longest Migration Among African Mammals

National Geographic recently published a story that found, “A population of zebras surprised biologists by making a more than 300-mile beeline across parts of Namibia and Botswana—the longest big-mammal migration ever documented in Africa.” While this migration has been observed during consecutive years, it is still not of the scale of the Serengeti Migration, as it involved only a few thousand zebras. However, “the animals cover more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) in a straight-line, up-and-back journey across Namibia and Botswana. (In the Serengeti, the animals meander more before circling back, so their feet touch more ground, but the distance between the zebras' two destinations is greater.)”

Why Wildebeests and Zebras Migrate Together

African travel experts have identified four main reasons why zebras tend to migrate with wildebeests:
  1. Since wildebeests are short grass grazers, and zebras tend to shear off long grass, zebras essentially cut the grass in new areas, allowing wildebeests to pick up the tailings.

  2. Zebras have better eyesight and hearing, essentially acting as an alarm for wildebeests when predators approach.

  3. Wildebeests have the ability to “smell” water, making them an ideal travelling partner for zebras.

  4. Zebras tend to have better memories and are more cautious travellers, something that helps wildebeests identify and fend off potential dangers.

Please help us to help species at risk

Please remember that Zawadee donates 2% of all sales of our African Wildlife products (carvings, sculptures, masks, etc.) to the World Wildlife Fund and The Jane Goodall Institute.
Read more
38 results