Women’s Craft Guilds and Traditional Basketry of Harar

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Author : Belle Asante

Traditional Harari basketry within the Harari ethnic group. However, between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s, a sharp decline in weaving among the younger generation of women became apparent to outside researchers, NGOs and the Harari alike. Moreover, the production of several seems to have been significantly reduced in those waning years of craft production.

By the late 1990s, there was an attempt to preserve the material culture of the Harari people,and also provide a forum for groups of Harari women to gain greater economic self-reliance through craft work. The three women’s weavers associations that were established within the old walled city of Harar at that time are still functioning. These fairly recently formed Harari women’s craft guilds have yet to be effectively documented, yet their contributions to the preservation of the Harari way of life may be profound.

After an introduction this paper will highlight some organizational differences, challenges, and successes of the three Harari women weaver’s guilds.

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