© Nihad Nino Pušija

Name: Elisabeth T.
Mother tongue: German
Occupation: Ethnologist
My object: shoulder basket
My story about it:

I was given this basket with the long leather strap by Wanjiru, an elder woman from Kikuyu in Central Africa. In Kikuyu, I carried out an ethnologic field study on the topic of “Women marrying Women” from 1986 to 1987. These baskets are produced in a simple braiding technique. Wanjiru taught me this artisanry. In pre-colonial times, the baskets in Kikuyu were made out of plant fibres; today, they are made out of plastic bands. The women lay the straps around their foreheads so that they can carry the basket filled with fruit, vegetables or other things on their backs. This is a convenient way of carrying goods.
Often when I go to the market, I take this basket with me. I carry the strap around my shoulder even though it is unpractical because the burden is only on one half of my body. If Wanjiru saw me like that, she would say: “typical Mũthungu (European)”.