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Ghana: Glass, Tatale and Kente

When we launch new products from other countries, our goal isn’t to just present you a new fashion item to buy. We also want our customers to come to appreciate the beauty and richness of the tradition from which the product comes. And that holds true for our collection of Ghanaian glass earrings. Here’s a quick look at some unique aspects of Ghana:

Recycling Glass

In Ghana, used soda bottles, broken windows, and glass shards are given a new life. Artisans in rural areas crush the scrap glass into powder. The powder is then put in molds of various shapes. The molds are put in the oven, and new glass beads take shape! Finally, the cooled glass is washed and smoothed, and with our earrings, painted with fun designs.

Glass Beads Ghana

This business model is a win-win. Glass is saved from the dump, job opportunities are provided in the rural areas, and we get gorgeous glass bead jewelry! One interesting fact – it can take up to 3 hours to pound the glass into powder! To see the process in action, head over at dziffa, there’s a great photo story of the process of making these beads.

A Taste of Ghana

In Ghana, if you have some overripe plantains, there’s a delicious way to use them up. Enter Plantain Cakes, otherwise known as Tatale.

Fried Tatale

Head over to your local international grocery store and grab some plantains so you came make these! Thanks to the University of Pennsylvania for this  Tatale Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 over-ripe medium plantains (black and soft)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 oz self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp palm oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Plus extra oil for frying

DIRECTIONS for TATALE:

Peel and mash the plantains well. Put into a bowl and add enough of the flour to bind. Add the onion, palm oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and leave to stand for 20 minutes. Fry in spoonfuls in a little hot oil until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.

Kente Styles:

As our final look into Ghanian culture, we wanted to highlight kente fabric, something we use a lot of around here! Kente fabric is ubiquitous in Ghana. Traditionally its a “dress up” type of cloth, often worn for events, such as weddings, birthdays and other ceremonies.

Photo by Lee D. Baker

Known for its geometric patterns, the fabric is named “Kente” which means basket. Each of the patterns is about more than just great design. There’s also symbolism involved in the weaving, represented by some awesome proverbs. You can learn more about that at Kente Cloth.net.  A favorite proverb is “The potsherd claims it has been around forever? What about the potter who made it?”

According to Cocoa from Ghana, certain Kente colors have particular meaning as well:

  • Black represents Africa
  • Red represents the blood of forefathers
  • Yellow represents gold
  • Green represents the forest

To get your fill of Ghanian design, head to our Inside Ghana Pinterest board to see products, Kente proverbs, Ghanian recipes and more.

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed our roundup of cultural tidbits from Ghana. Feel free to contribute other facts, recipes and info about this lovely African nation. And if you’re in a shopping mood, you can see all of our fair trade Ghana inspired products in our fair trade boutique.

Title image taken by Petr Kosina

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