Kambaa is made in Masasi District from thin strips of the leaves which grow on the dwarf palm. This plant normally grows no more than a metre high and survives in miombo woodland where it is less dense. Kambaa is plaited by women during the dry season when there’s not much work on the land and when it’s made for sale each hank is about 125 metres in length. The width is always very constant throughout the length but different hanks vary between about 8mm and 12 mm in width.
In Tanzania kambaa is used for making beds. It can be woven diagonally or parallel with the sides and ends of a wooden bed-frame. The Tanzania village life museum in Dar es Salaam has several examples in houses of different regions.
In Britain a new use for kambaa has been gaining acceptance steadily. It was first imported here in the year 2001 and shown to people who make chairs. It was immediately recognized as a useful and attractive material for making chair seats in place of rushes, sea grass or hemp string. A big advantage is the width of kambaa, so that a chair seat can be made with a shorter length of cord than with the usual narrow materials. Enquiries for sample or purchase to Graham Cole, tel 0114 255 7861.