The best arts and crafts in Botswana

The arts and crafts of Botswana mirror the country's rich cultural diversity which has been brought about by its many ethnic groups.

Exquisite crafts of different types with a range of designs are produced across the country by ordinary Batswana using skills influenced by their respective custom.

  • Batswana women living in the northern parts of the country are renowned for their skill at crafting baskets from trees or produce large lidded baskets used for storage, carrying objects on the head or for sieving chuff by thrashing grain called winnowing.
  • The craftsmen in the southeastern part of Botswana produce artistic pottery and weaving.
  • The San or Bushmen have produced the oldest rock paintings that depict hunting, animal and human figures. Broadly, Batswana produce great paintings and sculptures inspired by the country's beautiful landscapes.


The best of Botswana arts and crafts can be viewed during national exhibitions and commemorations, as in during the annual Botswana culture day or the National Museum and Art Gallery annual exhibition festivals.

There are many curio, craft, gift shops and malls in Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Kasane where you can view or purchase some indigenous crafts.


BASKETRY

Baskets from Botswana are considered some of the finest in Africa.

You can find these from the producers by visiting rural Botswana, or attend annual basket exhibitions in the national museum, trade fair or culture days.


POTTERY

The skilled Batswana craftsmen produce both traditional and modern pottery.

The traditional pots are used as water containers in households.

In bigger villages such as Thamaga and Gabane there are small cottage industries that produce exquisite modern ceramics.


WEAVING

Batswana weavers produce different types of products that include tapestries, carpets, bed covers and jackets.

There are small industries located in rural areas that produce these products.


WOODCARVING

Wood-based crafts exist in almost all parts of Botswana.

Woodcarving has existed for a long time to produce practical tools and transcended to an art form.

The crafts include human and animal figures, cutlery and bowls.


BONE-CARVING

Bone-carving is not widespread nor an old craft in Botswana. However, it has been inspired by the demand for ivory products because crafts produced from bones have a strong resemblance for ivory.

Batswana bone-carvers predominantly produce exquisite statuettes and jewellery.


LEATHER-WORK

Batswana produce quality leather products such as sandals, bags and cases from well established leather factories in the country.

Most of these can be viewed on display in malls and cultural exhibitions.


SKIN-TANNING

This is related to leather-work as it involves producing crafts using animal skin.

Animal skins from goats, sheep and cattle are tanned then used as traditional blankets and floor mats.


JEWELLERY

Jewellery in Botswana has always been associated with the use of basic elements such as stone to produce beads and ceramics.

However, jewellery using elements such as diamond are beginning to feature in the local crafts industry.


ART

Art is one of the oldest forms of craftsmanship in Botswana as depicted by the rock paintings in Tsodilo Hills, which are the oldest in the world.

Art includes indigenous and modern paintings found in curio shops and exhibitions.

Lekgapo is an exquisite indigenous art-form used as decoration for mud houses in rural areas.


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