Put the African Jingle in your Bells this Christmas with Gifting Lovingly Hand-Made Goodies
Treat your Loved Ones with these Hand-Picked Treasures from Africa: Artisan Chocolate, Delectable Jewels, Divine Lingerie and Exotic Textiles … It’s Time to Spoil Them with Something Very Special.
Christmas in Africa is an altogether different reality to that of the snowy North! For starters Christmas falls right in the middle of the hot and dusty summer, with soaring temperatures and solid sunshine, long lazy hot days with unforgettable sunsets. Flowers are blooming everywhere you look, summer fruits are in abundance, hundreds of outdoors markets are selling artisan products and edibles, bikini-clad beaches are full of sun-worshippers – surfers and other watersport enthusiasts … people of all ages making the most of an end-of-year break and of festive season celebrations that centre on outdoor entertaining, eating, drinking and playing. Equally restaurants, coffee shops, beach bars and sky bars are filled with people in holiday mode: feasting, sipping cocktails, watching the sun go down and having fun with friends and family.
Christmas day itself is celebrated with exquisite local food and drink, usually spent at home – often alfresco – with close family and more often than not continued on the beach until sunset! Gifts – often handmade – are traditionally exchanged on Christmas eve. Which brings us to the thrust of what’s to follow: we’ve hand-selected some special artisan goodies from Africa that you may like to give your loved ones (that includes yourself of course) for Christmas. Having said that, all of these beauties would be equally suited to any other special celebration during the year too.
Without further ado, indulge in the vibrant offerings!
Do these beauties not remind one of the opulent gifts and adornments that the Three Kings will have either worn or brought as their gifts offerings to the Christmas manger?
Jewellery brand Anoqi’s stunning work highlights ancient African architecture through beautiful adornment. Designer Anokhi, who spent a large part of her life between India and South Africa, took a jewellery course at Central St Martins as a creative outlet when busy with a doctorate in Urban Planning in London. The result? A unique range of jewellery that
perfectly combines history, architecture, archeology, anthropology and design. When you wear these, you’re truly wearing a piece of crafted African history on your finger!
These striking gold plated brass rings depict early architectural gems and some of the designer’s best travel memories, like the Church of Lalibela from 12th century Ethiopia, Mosque of Djenne, 13th century Mali and The Pyramids of Meroe that date back to 700 BCE in the capital city of the Kingdom of Kush-Meroe. The pieces are exquisitely intricate and three-dimensional, unmistakably African and hand-crafted with huge consideration and care.
2. Juditha Sakinofski
Juditha Sakinofski’s treasure speaks of faraway places and exotic locations, they’re the perfect gifts for that discerning loved one who deserves something extra special and unique. It goes without saying, of course, that that person could also be you!
Juditha Sakinofski’s products are testiment of the designer’s own life journeys across continents – from living in Toronto and New York to Europe and Cape Town, where she’s now based. Her silk-and-cotton blend scarves and shawls, featuring digital prints of iconic Cape Town scenery, are colourful and luxurious, and as suitable to a balmy evening on the beach as they are to cuddling up for a long-haul flight across the Atlantic. Her handbags, cushion covers, tote bags and slippers are lovingly made from West African fabrics, and her divinely scented soaps are beautifully strung together to resemble an ivory necklace. Oh, choices, choices, choices!
3. Jack Rabbit Chocolate
Fancy your very own Chocolate Christmas Tree and Christmas Morning Cereal? Look no further…
Arguably the most highly acclaimed chocolate studio in South Africa and one of the top chocolate studios in the world for that matter, master chocolateur Stephanie Ceronio has over the past few years scooped up more golds, silvers and bronzes at International chocolate competitions than should be humanly possible for a relatively humble Pretoria small business: Gold in International Chocolate Awards in Budapest 2017, Silver in International Chocolate Awards in London 2017, Top 3 C3 competition in Paris 2018, Semi Finalist Savour Patissier of the year Sydney 2018, Silver in International Chocolate Awards in Florence 2021 and Bronze in International Chocolate Awards in Florence 2021! They also supply prestigious Japanese department store Felissimo with their extraordinarily crafted and edible handiwork.
Using only the very best ingredients to make these delectable works of art, these are truly so much more than just divine chocolate creations. But don’t take my word for it, the proof is indeed in the pudding! Jack Rabbit creates a range of every conceivable chocolate bon bon and traditional slab with its distinct filling as well as a vast range of delectable related edibles, like Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies you can bake at home, caramel Truffles, Blonde Chocolate Honeycomb Bar, Chocolate Coated Dates and Dark Chocolate Fuellantine. Do yourself a favour and venture into their website, but be warned, you may never return from that chocolate rabbit hole!
4. Ida Elsje
If eye candy – that happens to be ear candy too – is what you’re after this Christmas, look no further. From daring street fashion to dazzling haute couture, Ida Elsje’s handcrafted jewellery displays a mastery of craft. According to the designer,
“Each pair is unique. I called this collection my balancing stone collection because I love balancing the stones on top of each other in an unusual and asymmetrical way.”
Ida Elsje’s Balancing Stone creations are made from emerald, sapphire, ocean jasper, leopard jasper, green, black and white agate, coral, alpite dalmation jasper, honey calcite, lapis lazuli, yellow and blue sapphire, stones from Liguria, pink and red coral from Anacapri, rhodanite, blue aventurine, green agate, malachite and crysoprase. Exotic enough?
Each is a unique and special creation, with their sparkly 18 carat gold clasps, a more festive and uplifting jewel you’d be hard pushed to find. Ida Elsje sells these direct from her studio or at the wonderfully forward-thinking Africa Nova at Delaire Graff Wine Estate, but fret not if you’re desiring these and not in South Africa – they can send you the ‘rocks’ of your liking to wherever you are!
5. African Jacquard
Christmas at African Jacquard is a colourful affair. In true African tradition Christmas often means a day on the beach spent with family, and few other products could be more appropriate for creating that festive and cheery ambience than these luxurious cloths.
Designer Christine Daron weaves her extraordinary jacquard creations in Cape Town from French linen and African cotton, using the traditional French jacquard weaving methods. She travels from Gabon to Congo and Angola for inspiration, and her products are truly something to behold. These authentic designs are deliciously tactile and the fabrics of the best quality imaginable – soft yet durable.
These are pieces that will not only freshen up your home and garden, but will make your own backyard seem like an idyllic retreat. From the exotic Kuba beach mats in chartreuse or shocking pink to the cheery Kuba cotton bath sheets and sumptuous Kuba cotton bed throws in a delicious range of exotic colours, these are must-have items lovingly hand-made in Cape Town, and ready to take a flight into the world to cheer up other places!
6. Gryphon Moss
‘Gryphon’ is the guardian of treasure, and Christmas time is exactly when we dig deep to find that special treasure for all the special people in our lives. It’s time to befriend the gryphon!
Designer Kate Carlyle of Gryphon Moss is an avid world traveler and is inspired by special people, incredible places, feats of nature and the wondrousness of our world – from the depths of the ocean to the heights of the Himalayas – that’s where she finds her design inspiration. Her lucky customers reap the benefit of her intrepid adventures as she brings a little magic from all the various corners of the world into her workshop. Her velvet poufs speak of faraway exoticness and her intricate, tactile beadwork necklaces are reminiscent of coral reefs off tropical isles. Each of these pieces is a super special unique heirloom, to be treasured for a very long time.
Every occasion and every day of the year is perfect for giving or receiving lingerie, but Christmas especially so.
Right in the heart of Cape Town, situated on historic Dunkley Square, is a little boutique filled with delightful goodies, operated by a small team of inspired women. They dream up, design and finish beautiful everyday lingerie with the help of their nimble-fingered seamstresses. Every item has been conceived with the idea of promoting sustainable careers within the company as well as having sustainable manufacturing credentials.
Whether you opt for the Cheeky Boyshorts or Brazillian Bums, the Indie Bralettes or Barely There Thongs, these pieces will make you forget you’re wearing anything at all, they’re so comfy. They also come beautifully packaged and presented. What are you waiting for? Check out the incredible selection!
Wishing you a very merry Christmas from Africa!