South Africa is at the southernmost tip of the African peninsula and has a rich cultural and natural heritage. The sheer volume of curios that it offers can confuse you if you are looking for great south african gift ideas for all members of your family. Heave a sigh of relief as the following article introduces you to significant items and the story behind them.
For your Wife: A Sisal Bag
Sisal is a plant that’s endemic to Mexico but is cultivated in dry climates around the world. It was brought to Africa by a German botanist and now grows in Kenya and Tanzania. Experienced harvesters (usually women, deft with knives) know when sisal leaves are old enough to cut. The cut leaf is then stripped of its green outer coating in a process known as decortication, which leaves behind strong golden sisal fibres.
The fibres are then woven by hand into lovely bags with skilfully crafted leather details. The spacious bags are high on function and style quotient and make the perfect gift for your beautiful wife, who loves to carry a well-organised handbag.
For your Daughter: Jewel with a Cause
Several self-help groups empower Kenyan women by teaching them how to make and sell traditional ceramic bead jewellery. Thousands of women enjoy economic freedom thanks to their employment at such workshops. Support their entrepreneurship by buying beautiful bead jewellery for your daughter. She is sure to love their charming colours that can brighten up any outfit.
If copper is more suited to your taste, you can choose copper jewellery made by skilled Zambian women who defied gender norms to learn metal smithy. The copper used in jewellery is usually recycled from old electric wires and coils.
For your Son: Assorted sweets and snacks
Treat your child to some of Africa’s iconic sweets such as wine gums, cherry gums, guava fruit rolls, strawberry fizzers, and zoo biscuits.
You could also buy him a more traditional snack such as the droewors (dry sausage). Unlike other dried sausages (say, salami), dry wors is dried quickly in a warm, dry climate without a curing agent. You must keep it away from moisture to prevent mould formation.
For your Father and Brother: Out with the bbq, in with the Braai – a Braai Grill
In a traditional South African braai, you cook food over an all-natural coal fire. An all-weather grilling option, braai etiquette consists of leaving the flames glowing even after the food has been cooked and devoured. The fare includes steak, chicken, lamb, sausages, and game meat – which when cooked becomes ‘braaivleis’ (braai-flesh).
Gift your sibling the experience of a braai with a sturdy braai-grid made of galvanised steel to withstand years of being thrown on a coal fire.
No braai is complete without some good beef biltong. Beef is sliced and cured in pepper, vinegar, and saltpetre (just as in the days of European seafarers) to keep it hygienic and edible for long. Take a trip to South Africa while sitting in your backyard with a stick of biltong meat.
For your mother: Delicate Glass figurines
Skilled glassworkers from Swaziland make delicate glass figurines based on the vibrant flora and fauna of the African wilderness. Their range of tableware, glasses, ornamental figures and vases are all made sustainably with glass recycled from soft drink bottles. Collecting glass from various locations and supplying it to the glass factory has thus become a viable job for many in Swaziland. Among children, glass recycling is a fun way to sponsor their local sports teams. Show your support to this innovative initiative by buying their exquisitely crafted glassware.
Even if you can’t head overseas armed with these amazing south african gift ideas, you can check online for your nearest South African store and purchase some or all the items to experience an authentic African taste.
Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.