Upcycling by Afrian Ant-ics
All African Ant-ics products are made from raw materials that are easily available in remote areas. Many community initiative programs are active here that ensure that the women who make the baskets always have a reliable source of free materials on hand. Thus, they are able to build up a source of income without having to worry about purchasing their upcycle resources.
Litter and plastic waste
An assortment of plastic bags, cookie paper, crisp packaging and plastic film is collected in and around the villages by women's groups and school children. This is part of a monthly litter clean-up campaign. The litter is sorted, cleaned and distributed by the women who cut each bag/package into a continuous strip of +/- 1 cm wide. They then roll this into a ball, which we call plastic yarn.
Traditionally, basket making is a skill passed down from generation to generation. Although basket making has taken on a new twist, the ladies who weave these baskets still use the knowledge and skills of the older women in their communities.
These baskets mainly come from three ethnic groups, namely the Nambya, the Ndebele in Matabeleland and the Tonga "Batonga" from Binga in the northern part of Zimbabwe. Each of their individual weaving techniques produces different patterns, the Ndebele are known for their more dramatic style bowl baskets, and the Nambya for their finer weaving.
Empowerment of local women
The vision of African Ant-ics is focused on empowering women in remote rural areas of Zimbabwe by creating alternative sources of income and embracing their uniquely beautiful cultures. Each African Ant-ics basket or bowl is woven according to fair trade principles and provides a sustainable source of income for women in impoverished communities.
The products create opportunities for these women to use their traditional weaving skills and the free 'recycled plastic' raw materials to produce unique products.