A woman weaves the peace basket (agaseke), Rwanda’s oldest traditional basket, featured in the Rwandan coat of arms. It is symbolic of the Rwandan culture of generosity, compassion, gratitude, and friendship. Gifts are often given inside the agaseke, and it is also used for storing valuables, for decorative purposes, and for other traditional practices.
Artistic basketry is practiced mainly by women, old and young, and has become an important livelihood for women in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide. Basket-making cooperatives throughout the country act as a unifying and empowering force for women, as well as a means for communication and sometimes even forgiveness.
Watch this VIDEO about Gayaha Links, a women’s cooperative that creates exquisite baskets for sale.