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12 Days of Africa - Highlighting Twelve of Africa's Countries

Throughout human history, there have been significant movements of peoples within, into, and out of Africa, occurring along its northern coasts, across the Sinai Peninsula, along the Red Sea, and notably in the Horn of Africa. At Africa Direct, our collection of masks, carvings, textiles, and beads showcase the mastery and originality of these extensive groups. From the commonly known Fang people located in Gabon to the colorful influences of Berber jewelry in Morocco, we carry items that are not only exquisite and representative of African history, but with every piece comes a unique story. Dive into the people of Africa as we spend 12 days on the continent, getting to know to communities and the craftmanship.

Ivory Coast Orange, White and Green Flag

DAY ONE: IVORY COAST

Home to more than two dozen ethnic groups, the Ivory Coast is located on the northwest coast of Africa. Here at Africa Direct, we are proud to showcase some of the amazing artistry that comes from within the Ivory Coast. From Goli masks made by the Baule people to clay pots made by the Akan, and Kobo bird masks! The Baule, Akan, Guro, Ligbi, Kono, and Grebo are but a few ethnic groups that have created some of the sculptures and artifacts that we have at Africa Direct.

Ghana red, yellow and green flag

DAY TWO: GHANA

Situated on the West Coast of Africa, Ghana is often described as an "island of peace." Though relatively small in area and population, Ghana stands out as a prominent African nation, whose cultural impact carries far beyond its borders. At Africa Direct we carry a variety of colorful Asofo flags, Ewe textiles and dolls, and a beautiful assortment of Asante gold weights and spoons. 

Nigeria green and white flag

DAY THREE: NIGERIA

In West Africa lies Nigeria, a land brimming with diverse ethnicities like the Yoruba, Ibibio, Igbo, and Hausa. At Africa Direct, we treasure a splendid array of hand-crafted sculptures, artifacts, and tools originating from these vibrant cultures. Explore our collection showcasing the vivid Boubou attire, intricate Hausa wood bowls, rhythmic Yoruba dance rattles and much more!

Democratic Republic of the Congo blue, yellow and red flag

DAY FOUR: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second-largest country on the continent of Africa. More than 200 groups of people live in the region; Azande, Bakongo, Bene Lulua, and Chokwe to name just a few.  Our vast selection of Hemba, Tabwa and Luba masks often depict humans, animals, guardians, or ancestral beings. Wood carvings such as the Pygmy stool have a very distinct style and easily become the topic of conversation in any room. 

Mali green, yellow and red flag

DAY FIVE: MALI

Mali, nestled in West Africa, is a cultural haven boasting diverse ethnic groups like the Bamana, Dogon, and Bambara. Renowned for its vibrant music, rich history, and iconic Timbuktu, Mali exudes artistic richness. At Africa Direct, we take pride in showcasing Mali's stunning creations like the Bamana Antelope Chiwaras, Bamana Buffalo Masks, Bozo Marionettes, and Dogon Doors. Explore our store to delve deeper into Mali's captivating artistry and its cherished cultural heritage.

Cameroon green, red and yellow flag

DAY SIX: CAMEROON

Cameroon is often described as a “crossroads” country as it is home to more than 200 groups of people. In addition to its diversity, it is also considered one of the most urban countries of West Africa. From honey baskets to woven textiles to masks and carvings, at Africa Direct we carry an array of items that reflect the rich culture and artwork from this area. Explore Mambila iron currencies, Tadep guardian figures, Bamileke stools and so much more!

Burkina Faso red and green flag

DAY SEVEN: BURKINA FASO 

Nestled in Western Africa, Burkina Faso boasts a rich tapestry of ethnic groups like the Bobo, Bwa, Fulani, and Gan, each with a unique flair for artistry. At Africa Direct, we showcase a myriad of handmade treasures crafted by Burkina Faso's most skilled artisans. Explore our collection featuring handwoven Fulani flat baskets, intricately cast Gan brass pendants, and finely carved wood masks crafted by the Bobo people. 

Morocco red flag with green star.

DAY EIGHT: MOROCCO

While undergoing rapid modernization, Morocco continues to uphold a wealth of traditional customs. Home to the group collectively referred to as Berbers, the profound impact Morocco has had on bead and jewelry making can be recognized all over the world. Berber beads and necklaces often include traditional intricate designs, distinct regional variations, as well as themes of history and symbolism. Explore our Moroccan beads, Phenolic resin beads and Berber necklaces only at our store.

South African red, white, blue, green and yellow flag.

DAY NINE: SOUTH AFRICA

Immerse yourself in the intricate artistry of South Africa through stunning beadwork and meticulously crafted baskets made by the Zulu people. Each piece tells a unique story, reflecting the rich cultural tapestry and artistic traditions that define this diverse nation. Explore the kaleidoscope of colors, patterns, and symbolism that make South African art, beadwork, and baskets truly captivating and culturally significant. 

Gabon green, yellow and blue flag.

DAY TEN: GABON

Gabon, Africa, is home to various communities and cultural traditions, deeply rooted in a reverence for the spiritual power of ancestral relics. This belief system has inspired the crafting of extraordinary artworks, notably exemplified in the form of Kota and Ambete reliquary guardians. Fang, Kwele and Punu masks and artifacts also exemplify the qualities highly esteemed in their society, such as tranquility, vitality, and the ability to maintain balance between opposing forces. 

Tanzania green, yellow, black and blue flag.

DAY ELEVEN: TANZANIA

In Eastern Africa lies Tanzania, a diverse tapestry of ethnic groups like the Grebo, Kwere, Makonde, Nyamwezi, and Zaramo, each enriching the vibrant art and beadwork cherished today. Delve into a world of culture through beaded dolls, finely carved Nyamwezi combs, symbolic pregnant belly masks, and fertility gourd dolls, showcasing the artistic prowess of Tanzania's diverse communities. Beyond its art, Tanzania boasts globally renowned national parks and reserves, inviting exploration of unparalleled natural wonders.

Kenya black, white, red and green flag.

DAY TWELVE: KENYA

Kenya, located in East Africa, is home to more than 40 communities of people and over 60 languages. While several art-producing groups of Kenya have made significant contributions to the recognition of East African art, the Turkana, along with their closely related neighbors, the Maasai, are arguably among the most noteworthy. At Africa Direct we carry vibrant Batiks, milk gourds, stone plates, hunting spears, and Turkana headrests that convey the innovation and craftsmanship from this region of the world.