The Keta Municipality in the Volta Region is one of the places definitely known for beautiful and decorative, as well as functionally tight, woven straw mats referred to as ‘ketsiba.’
Places in the municipality identified for the highest quality straw mats, which are a testament to fine weaving skills, include Alakple, Tregui, Azanu, Ahavi, Agortoe and Gbatsivi.
Many women on this well-watered land of rolling lagoons work mainly from their homes. They have revived what was once a dying craft and turned it into an art form for international acclaim.
They have also managed to turn the making of African straw mats into a home industry to supplement their incomes, and for some, this is their only source of income.
The mats are made by hand, using reeds obtained in the area. The women collect the reeds and hammer them into a fibre.
Weaving can be an individual activity but it is also a social activity where women in a given community collect, prepare materials and weave as a group.
Though straw mats have been replaced with mattresses in many homes these day, the mats continue to hold great cultural significance for many Ghanaians, many of whom even use them these days for ceilings, beds and fence walls.
Young women usually start learning how to make straw mats from older women, especially their mothers, aunties and grandmothers.
Madam Celestine Amekudzi , a 37-year- old straw mat weaver who has been in the business over the past 10 years, says she weaves at least three mats every day. She sells them on market days.
According to her, women from Accra, Kumasi, Koforidua, Togo and Benin visit the Anloga, Akatsi and Dabala markets to buy the mats for various reasons.
She says the government and other benevolent organisations should help them acquire modern equipment to enable them improve on the quality of their products.
Source: The Mirror
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