Discover the History of the Maasai Sword

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We’re so excited to present this African Maasai sword from Kenya. Swords like these are referred to as “Semes” by the Maasai people. They are the constant side arm of the Maasai warrior. The sword is light and short, with a double-edged, leaf-shaped spatula blade made from steel. The sheath is made from real leather dyed red. Red is an important color among the Maasai warriors, because it symbolizes blood and bravery. The color is often worn by Maasai warriors as they believe it will protect them against wild animals.

Historically, the Maasai people would give these swords as a rite of passage from boyhood to the status of junior warrior. This usually happens between the ages of 15 to 21. Upon their graduation, each warrior receives a sword like this, which they will retain throughout adulthood. The Maasai people use this blade for everything from clearing bush to butchering cattle or peeling fruit! They also us these swords for self-defense.

Each of these swords is approximately 20″ long. It can be difficult initially to pull the sword from the sheath, but over time it should become easier.

Want Your Own Maasai Sword?

We just added these to our weapon collection! You can get your own by Clicking Here.

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The History and Meaning of the Zulu Shield

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We’re thrilled and excited to add the historic Zulu shields to our collection of African weaponry this season! What makes these shields so special? They have been a part of African history for centuries and were used by Zulu tribesmen in battle. Now the shields are used for traditional ceremonies including weddings and funerals. They are also a source of income for many Zulu people. It is always exciting to find such a unique and authentic piece of African history and bring it to our customers.

Symbolically, the Zulu shield has long been believed to provide protection as well as provide medicinal or magic powers. Before battle, shields were sprinkled with herbs to give protective power to the shield and ensure the warrior came to no harm.

Zulu shields are crafted from goatskin or cowhide (the Zulu shields we carry are made from goatskin) sewn onto a wooden frame. There are five types of shields used for different occasions:

1 – Isihlangu – This is the largest shield, measuring 5 ft. tall! It is a battle shield and was used by King Shaka Zulu himself.
2 – Umbumbuluzo – This small battle shield could easily be used while running or attacking.
3 – Ihubelo – This small shield is used for courting and is dyed red.
4 – Igqoka – This is a small dancing shield that is used during traditional ceremonies.
5 – Ihawu – This is a basic warrior shield that is very hard to find these days.

White Zulu shields are normally kept by Zulu chiefs or a high-ranking Zulu warrior. Black and white or black are easier to find and are for the traditional warriors.

Where Can I Find Zulu Shields?

You can choose from a variety of Zulu shields in white, brown, or black on our web site here. You can also find them in various African festivals or Black History Month festivals occasionally.

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Discover the Unique Artistry of Soapstone

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Soapstone is a unique and beautiful metamorphic rock found in Kenya. It is mined in the Tabaka Hills, where it is known for being soft and easy to carve. It is sometimes referred to as Kisii stone.

The Abagusii people of the Kisii district in Kenya originally used soapstone to carry pots. For many Abagusii families, soapstone carvings are the primary source of income. They sell their handicrafts in malls, galleries, markets, and shops. Read more

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The winner of the Dashiki Day Contest

Congratulations George and Heather

George and Heather Kwakuyi

Winners of the Dashiki Day photo contest

George and Heather have received a $50.00 gift certificate from Africa Imports for getting the most votes for their Dashiki photo.

Everyone else who is shown below is also getting a $10.00 gift certificate, so there are 31 winners!

Happy National Dashiki Day 2016

 

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Vote for the Dashiki Contest

Join the celebration

The contest is over. Thank you for your participation. A winner will be announced soon.

Vote for your favorite dashiki photo.
Click on the star to vote for that design. Only one vote per user.

Contest ended November 1. Winner will be announced the next week. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from Africa Imports.

Click on any image below to see the dashiki. Vote for your favorite.

View our line of dashikis here.

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How Tree Oil Can Fight Tooth Decay, Gum Disease, and Cavities!

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Tea Tree Oil is one of the most versatile and beneficial of all the essential oils, and it has recently come into the spotlight for its powerful healing effects on acne, fungal infections, dandruff, and even ear infections. But what about your dental health? Can tea tree oil do anything to protect your teeth or prevent decay and disease? Let’s take a look!

Read more

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The 5 Incredible Healing Powers of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil

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Litsea Cubeba is one of the most unheard of essential oils, but it’s also one of the most effective, deliciously scented, and powerful! Because of its odd sounding name, people aren’t quick to identify with it and pass it over. However, Litsea Cubeba has one of the most incredible, fresh, citrusy scents of any essential oils AND it is excellent for improving your health and wellness. Read more

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5 Mudcloth Craft Projects You Can Make Over a Weekend!

Are you an avid do-it-yourselfer who likes to sew or craft in some way? Then mudcloth is for you! This unique African fabric is hand-crafted and makes a showstopping addition to your home décor. We’ve been on the lookout for DIY mudcloth projects, and this post will show you some incredible ways you can display mudcloth in your home or create a gift someone will love!

Idea #1 – Comfy Mudcloth Floor Cushions
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Photo credit Apartment Therapy 

Want a stunning and super comfy floor cushion to relax on in your home? Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to create one yourself!

Idea #2 – Mudcloth Upholstered Bench
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Photo credit Claire Esparros for Homepolish

Want to really bring the style and feel of West Africa to your home? Make your own upholstered mudcloth bench! Find instructions here

Idea #3 – Mudcloth Throw Cushions
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Photo credit Bryant Lee

Adorn your couch with the striking and minimalistic charm of mudcloth! See instructions here

Idea #4 – Mudcloth-Inspired Fabric Tote Bag
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Photo credit burkatron.com

This tote bag doesn’t actually use real mudcloth, but if you’re in the mood for something easy and mudcloth-inspired then this tote might be just the thing! Find out how to make it here!

Idea #5 – Giant DIY Mudcloth Inspired Planter
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Photo credit shrimpsaladcircus.com

Want to decorate outside your home? Check out these striking and super easy mudcloth planters!

Where Can I Find Mudcloth?

Here at Africa Imports we sell mudcloth in a variety of sizes and colors. Find exactly the kind you want here!

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The Fall 2016 catalog is printing right now! A copy will be mailed to all of our customers directly from the printer. Mailing and delivery normally takes 1-2 weeks, but you don’t have to wait! You can see it now, just click here.
2016 Fall Retail Catalog
There are so many exciting products to sell in this 144 page catalog. Take a look at the new and popular African fashions, jewelry, artwork, and so much more.
Click here for the Easy Page-Turning version!

Click here to find out HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS selling African products!

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The Astounding Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil

The Astounding Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil

We’re thrilled to introduce you to one of our newest essential oils: Wintergreen. Wintergreen essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the Wintergreen tree native to North America. It has long been used in Native American healing and medicine, and now you can enjoy its benefits as well.

The Health Benefits of Wintergreen Essential Oil

Pain-Relief

Wintergreen is a natural analgesic, which means when it is applied to an area of pain it induces numbness and an anesthetic affect. It also promotes blood circulation, and cools irritation, which is a relief to those who are experiencing swollen or itchy skin. However, you should never apply wintergreen directly to open cuts or wounds.

Stress-Relief

Wintergreen is a natural Anodyne; this basically means that it can induce relaxation. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, applying this essential oil with a moisturizer can help to calm and relax your senses.

Fights Arthritis

When wintergreen essential oil is applied externally, it easily penetrates through the skin around the muscles and tissues, stimulating blood circulation in that location. This activity helps to clear obstructions in the flow of blood, which is one of the major causes of rheumatism and arthritis. It also keeps toxins like uric acid from accumulating in that spot.

Relieves Gas

If you blend a small amount of wintergreen essential oil with some lotion or water and rub it on your belly it can help to relieve gas and bloating. Never take wintergreen essential oil internally.

Detoxes the Body

Wintergreen essential oil has stimulating properties that help the organs in the urinary system to increase the frequency and quantity of urine. As a result, it helps your body to more speedily remove toxins like uric acid and protects from diseases like rheumatism, arthritis, and others which are caused by the accumulation of toxins. Do not take wintergreen essential oil internally! Simply applying it to your skin with your body lotion will improve your health.

Reduces Congestion

Wintergreen contains an aspirin-like chemical that can help to reduce pain and congestion. To open your nasal passages and breathe more deeply, combine wintergreen oil and coconut oil together, and then rub the mixture onto your upper back and chest.

Antibacterial

Wintergreen is naturally anti-bacterial. It can help to fight dangerous germs, viruses and fungi. You can apply the oil with lotion to sections of your body as needed. You can also use the oil in your dishwashing solution to clear odor-causing bacteria and molds from your dishwashing machine. Some people use the oil in cleaning supplies to rid their home of any dangerous bacteria.

Clears Acne

Because wintergreen oil is naturally antibacterial, you can apply it to your skin with your face lotion to rid your skin of acne-causing germs. It also is anti-inflammatory, so it can reduce the redness and swelling of acne breakouts.

Increase Energy and Alertness

Native Americans used Wintergreen leaves to increase stamina and endurance during exercise, and you can too! Simply dab some wintergreen essential oil, along with a carrier oil like coconut oil or sweet almond oil, onto your neck, chest, and wrists to fight sleepiness or fatigue.

Reduce Hunger and Cravings

The smell of wintergreen can reduce hunger cravings and trick your mind into thinking you’re full. If you struggle with overeating, this essential oil can be a real help! Try inhaling a small amount of wintergreen before meals to avoid eating too much.

A Word of Caution: Wintergreen has a high content of Menthyl Salicylate. This property is one of the reasons that Wintergreen is so effective for your health, BUT it is not meant to be taken internally. Never ingest Wintergreen essential oil. Do not burn Wintergreen essential oil in your home either. When using it for external application, you only need a small amount ( a drop or two) mixed with lotion to get optimal benefits. Never apply it to broken skin or open wounds.

Where Can I Find Wintergreen Essential Oil?

We just started carrying wintergreen essential oil in our product line. It is extremely high quality and has no dilutants at all. You can find out more here!

 

 

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