african cotton

Portrait of a group of freed slaves on their way to work in a cotton field on Marion Chaplin Place Plantation on St. Helena Island in South Carolina, c. 1863-1866. By Hubbard and Mix. Animated stereoview.

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The contrasting landscapes of Japan and Africa may seem, literally, worlds apart. But they have been artfully united in a collaboration between an African designer and a traditional Japanese kimono-maker. Launched five years ago, Wafrica — Africa plus wa for Japan — has unveiled a range of kimono handcrafted in an array of African cotton fabrics that would seem to be a million miles from the subtle silks more commonly associated with traditional Japanese dress

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THE SIDI OF INDIA - THE AFRICANS IN INDIA

Among the many different ethnic groups and peoples scattered across the vast Indian sub-continent, perhaps the most unusual and surprising are The Sidis – the “lost Africans” of India.

Long before AfricanS were moved en masse to the New World to toil in tobacco, sugar and cotton plantations. Africans were brought and travelled eastward to India as merchants, forced labor and explorers.This migration is believed to have lasted from the 12th to the 19th centuries.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Portuguese seafarers who had established a colony in India also imported additional black African slaves there.

Amazingly, they have preserved some of the musical and dance traditions of their long-lost forefathers (again, similar to Africans in the Western Hemisphere).

A few fortunate Sidis, renowned for their martial skills, became nobles in medieval India.

Many Indian people were not even aware of the long-time presence of Africans in their country, due to their tiny numbers. Indeed, even some of the Sidi communities were so isolated for so long that they did not know of the existence of fellow Africans in other parts of India.

The presence of the Sidis in India also might contradict the notion that in the modern era most human migration moved westward. The Sidis are like an historical anomaly, but the very fact that they have survived after centuries in a generally unwelcoming society attests to their perseverance and cultural strengths.

1000 Flowers for the Planet - #835 Buy African Cotton

With the production of cotton using 25% of pesticides for crop production worldwide, cotton has become a serious environmental risk. Cotton Made In Africa [http://www.cottonmadeinafrica.org] is a fantastic initiative whereby smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are growing cotton using rainwater, not irrigation, and with few, if any, pesticides. The fair trade initiative allows these farmers to get a fair price for their crop, giving them the ability to improve their lives and the lives of their families, reducing poverty and giving them dignity too. They do not use genetically modified seeds, and they do not use child labour. They do use natural farming methods. There is a great deal of information about CmiA at the aforementioned website – please take a look.

The best thing is that it’s easier and easier to buy products made with CmiA – read your labels, check out the website and source your suppliers and manufacturers. Buy clothing and linen made from CmiA. Support a fantastic initiative that helps people, is sustainable and is a better practice for the planet.