As we field the ever-changing machinations of the Covid -19 pandemic, we have reset our course of action with the women of Ilha de Moçambique. For some months now we have been in conversation with the talented and inspiring co founders, Wacy Zacarias and Djamila de Sousa, of Karingana wa Karingana Textiles in Maputo. We are thrilled to announce that Axinene Women’s project and Karingana wa Karingana are partnering to develop a unique, sustainable art project on Ilha de Moçambique. Together we can have a greater social, economic and environmental impact.

Djamila de Sousa and Wacy Zacarias, co-founders of Karingana wa Karingana Textiles

Karingana wa Karingana means ‘once upon a time’ in Changana; it speaks to the rich tradition of story telling, the importance of oral histories passed down through generations. The company is committed to preserving the vibrant culture of textile production that has existed across the African continent for centuries. Ilha de Moçambique is full of stories but it is not so often that women’s stories are heard. We are about to change that.

We understand that in these challenging times we have to find new solutions in order to go forward. Karingana wa Karingana have a particular focus on upcycling, recycling and using materials that are locally available to create unique artworks and beautiful homewares. As in so many African countries, on Ilha we also have an over abundance of poor quality second hand clothes, disused plastics, and too many broken flip flops. Living on an island, the proof of this waste ending up in the sea is all too apparent. Ilha Blue is passionate about protecting marine environment. Only yesterday, on a whale watching dhow tour we saw many many humpbacks breaching, fin slapping, flukes up and spy hopping. We saw this season’s babies, a school of tuna leaping out of the sea, flying fish, and 2 huge turtles enjoying their right to freedom… All this must be protected.

The art project will go some way towards this protection by contributing to awareness raising around waste and notorious single use plastics and the detrimental impact of ocean plastics; the utility of upcycling and a focus on the use of natural materials. The women of Ilha of course are no strangers to recycling; objects are reused over and over, repaired and then used some more – way beyond their use by date. Our intention is to develop creative ways to reinforce that plastic is not the answer but rather, reinstate and reimagine the traditional use of natural materials while simultaneously elevating its status.

Working with Karingana wa Karingana will expose women to new ideas and markets. We will create beautiful objects for sale whilst facilitating a strong social space through storytelling and skill sharing, reinforcing what is at the core – culture, society, creativity, sustainability, resilience.