Africa day, the annual celebration on the 25th of May, commemorates the formation of the African Union (AU), formerly known as the Organisation of African Unity (PAU) in 1963. It is observed as a public holiday in six African countries – Ghana, Mali, Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Though it is not celebrated as a national holiday in Kenya, home of our producer partners Bombolulu, we wanted to use this chance to celebrate their work and their beautiful jewellery.
Bombolulu Workshops is a Fair Trade social business based in Mombasa, Kenya who make all of People Tree’s brass and silver plate jewellery. Set up 40 years ago, Bombolulu employs people with physical disabilities in meaningful, well-paid jobs and encourages sustainable development in Kenya. Every stage of each piece is made by hand – from the hammered brass chevron to every link and detail. The producers are provided with medical and support and housing. Not only that, but the materials are sustainably sourced to have minimal waste or environmental impact – any use of bone, for example, is a recycled by-product of the local meat industry in Mombasa.
While the social impact of Bombolulu is key to their success and Fair Trade status, we also want to celebrate the hand craft that goes into each piece created by our producer partners. In the development of our SS16 collection ‘Urban Craft’, Jenny Hulme (Head of Buying and Design) said that she designed the jewellery with this in mind. Speaking about the Chevron necklace in Brass for Fashion Revolution, she said:
“I designed the necklace to show off the love and care that the artisans from Bombolulu put into their work. Each link in the chain is carefully made by hand, and the chevron pendant is cut out and hand beaten before being smoothed and polished.”
Bombolulu, and many other Fair Trade producers in Kenya and across the African Union, create priceless opportunities and beautiful, artisanal products. At People Tree, we are delighted they share these skills with us and to then share them with you, the customers.
Happy Africa Day!