How to stop Indigo fabric dye from rubbing off

The true hand dyed indigo from Africa does rub off easily on a persons hands or onto other things. This may be a problem quality of this product; but it is the way that this product comes and the fabric is not considered defective because of it.
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There are several things that can be done to reduce this. Any washing of the fabric will remove some of the loose dye, and will keep the blue indigo in the fabric from rubbing off as easily.m-f052
If the indigo fabric is soaked in mixture of cool water and vinegar, this will act as a setting agent for the indigo dye. This is not a perfect solution, and the indigo will still rub off somewhat. This process does dramatically reduce the amount of indigo that would rub off though.
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If you are making clothing or other similar items with the indigo fabric, the best practice is to use a lining of some sort to prevent problems from the indigo dye. Over time, the amount of indigo dye that will rub off decreases. Although this may never stop 100%, it will become almost un-noticable after time.

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Giving to Congo children

Helping people in Africa is the main purpose behind Africa Imports. Through your purchases, Africa Imports is able to help support four different orphanages in Congo, a country where extreme poverty has created a constant barrier between children and food, shelter and education. We are able to help pay for schooling, meals and other daily expenses the orphanages must cover to care for these beautiful, but needy children. IMG_3087
Since 2007, Africa Imports has donated over $286,500 to the orphanages in Congo. We strive to continue to bless these children both physically and emotionally. These are just a few of the orphans that we are able to support with your help. Below the two girls are named Bayani (age 6) and Kisia (age 4). The baby boy is only 2 months old (we didn’t get his name, but he’s cute anyway!) Africa Imports, along with hundreds of children in Congo truly appreciate your continued support. IMG_2992
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Losing Your Hair? – How to Speed Hair Growth Naturally

Hair is one of the most important parts of our appearance. It makes a huge difference in how we see ourselves, and how others see us. Hair loss and thinning hair can still be devastating when it happens to you. It’s especially hard for women with thinning hair; and still holds true for men. Men are more likely to experience male pattern baldness and thinning hair as they age.
There are a lot of products on the market today that promise to help with hair loss. They promise a cure for balding and bald spots. They promise to halt hair loss and regrow hair. Not all of them are natural products and not all of them work as well as they claim to. The most popular hair growth product that we have seen is Black Jamaican castor oil.

Jamaican castor oil is a great natural remedy for thinning hair and bold spots. Castor oil has a four thousand year old tradition of medicinal use. It has been used as a cure for a wide variety of ailments in that time. It has been used a food preservative, a laxative and even in cancer treatment. Castor oil comes from the castor bean, which is native to Eastern African.
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The color of castor oil varies between brown and black depending on the beans used to make it. The castor bean was imported to Jamaica via the slave trade. Authentic black Jamaican castor oil is accompanied by a burnt smell. It has become a favorite home remedy of Jamaicans; who use it for a variety of medicinal purposes, aches and pains, skin care, and hair care.

One of the most popular uses of black Jamaican castor oil is in hair care. Jamaicans have long used it to moisturize, thicken, and strengthen their hair. They also use it to combat thinning and balding hair. It has been proved to be effective at stimulating the scalp and encouraging hair to grow. It is completely natural way to thicken hair with no harsh chemicals or side effects.

What is the best method of using black Jamaican castor oil to achieve hair growth? You should start with an old shirt or smock in order to avoid staining your clothes. You will also want a warm towel or a shower cap to wrap your hair in after applying the castor oil. Warming Jamaican castor oil up a little bit beforehand helps to thin it and make it easier to spread. Part your hair into two halves. Then apply the oil. It is recommended that you apply the oil with your fingers but you can also use a brush if you really dislike using your fingers. Massage the oil into your scalp and hair. Once you have finished that then wrap your hair in a warm towel or shower cap. The warm towel is recommended over the shower cap. Wait two hours and give the oil a chance to work. Then wash your hair with black Jamaican castor oil still in it with a natural shampoo and use conditioner. Used in that way on a regular basis the application of castor oil will bring results in a month. You will notice thicker, fuller hair.
Portrait of a beautiful smiling African woman with a retro hairstyle.
The benefits of black Jamaican castor oil are not limited to the hair on your head. It has also proven effective for eyebrow and eyelash hair. You can use a small brush that would normally be used to apply eyebrow color to apply the oil to your eyebrows. You can use a mascara brush to apply the oil to your eyelashes. As with your hair, let the oil have a couple of hours to work before washing it off. Note that the brushes you use should be clean and free of make-up. Also note that you should be careful to avoid getting the castor oil in your eyes. Jamaican castor oil is also makes a great massage oil. It will help you achieve a relaxing and rejuvenating massage while also improving your skin.

Jamaican castor oil is also becoming popular with a wide variety of people. While it has been a traditional home remedy for Jamaicans of African descent it is being used today by people of all different ethnicities and nationalities. It is effective for all hair and skin types. If you are wondering what happened to the full head of hair that you used to have, or noticing bald spots on your scalp, black Jamaican castor oil could be your best chance to help regain a full head of hair.

Get your castor oil here now!

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African Djembe Drumming History: Getting the Full Experience

Music is a universal language that appeals to everyone, regardless of their background. One of the most fun things about music from around the world is finding unique instruments from different places and cultures. Africa is a continent that is rich in musical traditions. One of the most interesting instruments to come out of West Africa is the djembe drum. The djembe is a beautiful, goblet-shaped drum that is traditionally carved from a single piece of hardwood. It is covered with an animal skin for its drumhead; and comes from western African nations such as Mail, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea and Ghana.
Hear how this djembe sounds:

There is a rich history behind the djembe drum. Most experts believe that the djembe drum originated about 400 to 800 years ago during the Malian Empire. They believe that it was created by Mandé people. The Malian Empire spanned a large swath of territory in what are today the countries of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, northern Burkina Faso, western Niger, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, the Ivory Coast and northern Ghana. The area of the Mali Empire was referred to as Mande by its inhabitants. They were called the Mandinka (from Manden’Ka; which means people of Mande). They formed a federation of Mandinka tribe called the Manden Kurufa. That federation grew into an empire that ruled millions of people from every tribe in West Africa.

The Mandé people developed the djembe drum with some specific purposes in mind. As in many cultures, music is used to signal a call gather together for prayer or a group meeting. It is also used to keep rhythm and pass the time during work. In fact, some believe that the name of the djembe drum came from the Bamana in Mali. They said, “Ankey dje, anke be.” That translates as, “everyone gather together.” Djembe is a combination of “Dje”, which means to gather, and “be”, which means everyone. Thus, the name djembe reflects the drum’s purpose in gathering people together. It is often used in ceremonies.

Not only is the name of djembe drum meaningful but there is also rich mythological tradition behind the creation of the djembe. The tradition teaches that the blacksmiths who created the first djembe drums custom made them for the drummers who would use them. The blacksmiths would cut down the tree used to make the drum. That was a spiritual act and the blacksmith would make an offering to the spirits of the tree. When a lenke tree was used for the drum the blacksmith would make a sacrifice and ask for permission to cut the tree.
Watch a video of an African craftsman making a D’jembe drum here:

Tradition also holds that each djembe drum contains three spirits. There is the spirit of the tree that supplies the wood for the drum. Then there is the spirit of the animal whose skin is used for the drumhead. Finally, the maker of the drum imbues the drum with their spirit. There is also a strong belief that the djembes are imbued with the spirits of the tribal ancestors. Some of the oldest djembe drums in existence contain the names of generations of djembe masters. iStock_000004805730Small
The drummer is also an important part of the djembe drum tradition. Traditionally the djembe was played by a member of the jeli cast. The members of the jeli cast would commission a djembe drum that was custom made for them. The jeli are a cast of musicians. They are responsible for more than music. They are the keepers of the oral tradition of their people. That is historically true and the tradition continues today.

Tradition holds that the spirits of the djembe drum use the drummer as a vessel. The drummer is expressing the music of those sprits rather than owning the music. That takes years of careful study with a master to achieve. A djembe master will guide their student. They will teach their student the proper placement of their hands, fingers, arms and spine. They will guide their student’s thoughts and their spirits. The masters take their responsible to pass on both proper technique and the traditions of djembe drums very seriously. In time that passion allows their students to become masters as well!
Learn how to play a D’jembe drum from a master instructor here:

When you purchase a djembe drum you are becoming part of that tradition. Passing on the message of that tradition becomes part of the training. Where your drum comes from is important as well. Today many djembe drums are built in Ghana, Bali, and Thailand. These countries have greater industrialization and are able to produce greater numbers of drums but they are not part of the tradition. You should look for drums that come from the countries where the djembe originates and the trees that the drums have been traditionally made from grow: Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. Djembe drums made in those countries will enable you have a drum with an authentic sound and spirit. We will be happy to help you find the right djembe drum for you as you embark on the traditional journey of a drummer!
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Essential Oils & Fragrance Oils: What’s the Difference?

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Essential oils are so popular now that you almost can’t avoid them. In fact, nowadays there are “essential oil wars” where people involved in pyramid marketing schemes engage in verbal fights and arguments over who has the best, purest essential oil. It can be easy to feel frustrated with trying to figure out which oil is the best; which companies to avoid, and to wonder if they even really work! Many of us have heard so much about essential oils, but yet, some still don’t even know the basics…

What is an essential oil?

An essential oil is a powerful liquid that is distilled by steam or water from the leaves, flowers, barks, roots, or other elements of a plant. Enormous amounts of plants are needed to make each essential oil. It takes 4000 pounds of roses to produce 1 pound of rose essential oil, making this one of the most costly essential oils around. Other plants, like lavender, take 100 pounds of plant material to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil.

One thing that might surprise you is that essential oils are not actually “oils”. They do not contain the fatty acids that make up what we would consider an actual oil. They are, as most aromatherapists like to say, “the life force of the plant”. Essential oils are a distillation of the most vital nutrients found in a plant, fruit, or bark.

How are essential oils made?

Most pure essential oils are extracted from plants through a process called steam distillation. Freshly picked plants are suspended over boiling water, and the steam pulls the oils out of the plant. The steam rises, is captured in a vessel, and is pushed along tubing. Then the steam is rapidly cooled, causing it to condense back into water. Since water and essential oils do not mix, the two separate, and the essential oil is collected.

With citrus essential oils, they are often made through a process called expression. The oils are pressed from the rinds of the fruit, and the oil is squeezed out. This is a similar process to how olive oil is obtained.

What’s really so great about essential oils?

Because essential oils capture a lot of the nutrient-rich properties of the plant, they can in turn give these nutrients to you. Most essential oils are high in antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, making them amazing household cleaners or skincare products (if diluted with lotion or something else to avoid irritating your skin). Essential oils are 100% natural, and can be used for therapeutic purposes, in household cleaners, or simply to make your home smell good. You won’t have the side-effects or risks of the chemicals found in aerosol air refresheners, or harsh detergent cleaners. If you do a little research on any essential oil, you are bound to find many therapeutic benefits. For example, rosemary essential oil increases focus and concentration, while lavender reduces stress and helps ease insomnia. Essential oils also have a long shelf life of 5-10 years, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad.

A little goes a long way

One drop of essential oil can give you a lot of benefits! You can apply one drop of tea tree oil to a cotton swab and apply it to pimples to get relief from acne. One whiff of lavender essential oil can help you ease stress and find relief from a headache. You can make a simple all-purpose cleaning spray with only 15 drops of essential oil. If you’ve got young children underfoot, or kid’s who like to help with chores (lucky you!) then you can let them clean the home with an essential oil spray and not worry about the side effects of inhaling harsh chemicals. Plus, your home will smell amazing afterwards!

There are so many ways you can use essential oils, that to go into them all here would take hours upon hours of reading. However, if you check out our essential oil section at Africa Imports, you can see many of the benefits of each oil listed in the oils description.
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Have a question about essential oils? Let us know! We’d love to help you! Leave us a comment below or give us a call toll-free at 1-800-500-6120.

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Bye-Bye Blackheads! How Black Soap Can Help

Black soap has an outstanding reputation for being one of the best acne healers available. Many people who suffer from blackheads think that they are caused by dirt and that the only way to get rid of them is to wash their face multiple times a day. But the truth is that blackheads are formed through a natural skin process– it’s just some people are more prone than others. Natural black soap works as a powerful 3-in-1 healer that covers all the steps for clearing up blackheads.
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Step 1: Cleanse
A blackhead is said to be the first stage of acne. It is simply a pore that is open to air and clogged with a bit of oil. Black soap’s cleansing powers are great for clearing up oily skin and stopping pores from clogging.

Step 2: Exfoliate
Weekly exfoliation is another key to keeping blackheads away. Black soap has natural exfoliating qualities that give your skin an incredible deep-pore cleaning.

Step 3: Moisturize
Oily/acne prone skin DOES need moisture. It just needs the right kind. The healing moisturizers and herbs in natural black soap will help replenish and revive your skin, leaving it looking and feeling radiant.

Click here to get your black soap now!

Find a lot more information including a group of videos about different types of black soap here.

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Making a difference – Meet Sifa

A part of your purchases goes to help support orphans in Africa. One of the African helpers who helps with these kids is Sifa. She is shown here playing the guitar – she is taking lessons and doing so well – obviously gifted.  Sifa is 15 now – she is in a technical school for girls with internships in sewing, cooking, and doing hair.

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Brice let Sifa play on his guitar – she is taking lessons and doing so well – obviously gifted.  Sife is 15 now – she is in a technical school for girls with internships in sewing, cooking, and doing hair.

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Will shea butter clog my pores?

Will shea butter make your skin more oily? Find out

Will shea butter make your skin more oily? Find out

If you have oily skin or acne breakouts, shea butter can help. If you think that shea butter will make you’re your skin even more oily, or make your breakout worse, this article will help you relax.

Not only this, if you have combination skin that is dry and has breakouts too, then shea butter is perfect for you also. African shea butter can moisturize your skin but not make it breakout.

Is shea butter good for oily skin? Will it clog my pores?
Shea butter is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. According to the American Shea Butter Institute, moisturizers in shea butter mimic the moisturizers in sebum. Thus, it “tricks” your skin into thinking it has enough sebum, and helps stop overproduction of sebum. This makes it a great remedy for dry skin. You also get other extras with shea butter It’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties help to treat acne lesions.

What other nutrients does shea butter have?
Shea butter is full of nutrients. One of them is vitamin A, which gives many healing properties and can aid in treating blemishes, wrinkles, eczema and dermatitis. Shea butter promotes an even skin tone, and helps repair skin damage from burns and even stretch marks. Shea butter is also packed with antioxidants like vitamin E , as well as polyphenols and phytonutrients. These ingredients make shea butter an anti-inflammatory, which is why it works so well at moisturizing and soothing all types of skin.

No worries
You can apply shea butter to your face and body without having to worry about causing more breakouts or clogging your pores. Keep in mind that hormonal changes, stress and nutrition can also affect breakouts; so if you do breakout after using shea butter, try changing diet and other things to narrow down exactly what is causing it.

Shea butter sold by the pound

Shea butter sold by the pound

Where can I find shea butter?

At Africa Imports, we offer the largest selection of shea butter options. You can get unrefined raw shea butter, whipped shea butter, scented shea butter, and shea butter lotions and soaps. You can find a whole selection of various shea butter products here.

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All-African BBQ Sauce

Can you believe Memorial Day is right around the corner?
This national holiday was started as a way to honor the Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. It has since extended to a day of remembrance for all those who have died in service of the United States of America.
Over the years it has also been used to mark the unofficial beginning of the summer season as families and friends traditionally gather together to cookout and enjoy each others company.
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This year impress your family and friends by putting a little African twist to the American BBQ traditions with this tasty “Hakuna Matata All-African BBQ Sauce”!
(“Hakuna Matata” means “No Problem!” in Swahili).
So go ahead– forget your problems and test out this recipe!

Ingredients
- 1 cup cooking oil (can use olive)
- 1 cup vinegar (use best, like wine, malt or cider vinegar)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup ketchup (tomato sauce, made from real tomatoes, not junk)
- 1/2 cup chutney (a nice fruit chutney, not too sweet!)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (mild!)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped (or more if wanted)
- 2 teaspoons ginger, ground
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs (or a handful of fresh thyme)
Yields 4 cups

Directions
1. Put all ingredients in a processor.
2. Mix until thick and smooth.
3. Taste for seasoning. If too sweet to your taste, add a little more vinegar.
4. This sauce must stand at least 30 minutes before use so the flavors can blend.
5. Store in the refrigerator and shake or stir before use if it separates.

Tips!
Don’t salt your meat before grilling; there is salt in this sauce.
Baste meat with a brush as you grill it and when you turn it over.
Sauce can also be used as a marinade for red meats.

ENJOY!

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Celebration of A Mother’s Love

Mother’s Day in South Africa

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    Mother’s Day is such a beautiful holiday filled with love and appreciation for mothers all over the world! Although lifestyles and cultures can vary from country to country, Mother’s Day is one of the few holidays were the traditions pretty much remain the same throughout the world.

    In South Africa, Mother’s Day is also celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. People make special time on Mother’s Day to thank their moms, grandmothers and any motherly figures for their love, patience, self-sacrifice and devotion.

    Just as in the US, carnations are the traditional flowers used on Mother’s Day in Africa. The flower holds a very special meaning on this day. Mothers are not only presented with these flowers as a token of love, but children also wear carnations on their clothes in honor of their moms. Red and pink carnations are worn for mothers who are living, while white are worn to honor moms who have passed on.

    In similar fashion, on this day, the child becomes a caretaker of the mother. Mother is exempted from all of the daily chores. Throughout the entire day, children pamper their mothers by cooking, cleaning, serving tea, offering presents and showering their moms with affection. Younger children present their mothers with homemade gifts. Some of the children take their mother out for dinner or on picnics as well.

    Mother’s Day is a day dedicated to all the mothers all over the world for the constant self-sacrifice and patience they devote in raising their children. Let’s never forget all the women who have taken part in nurturing and showering us with love, affection and guidance!

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