Tanzania's finest

Tanzania's finest

The must haves from Tanzania - Ebony carved figurines that provide a caricature of the indigenous Masai population

Mridula Gandhi
July 14 , 2014
Less than 1 Min Read

You really can’t go wrong with ‘mama-papa’ figurines as the essential souvenir from Tanzania. Carved from ebony wood, they provide a quirky caricature of the indigenous Masai population. However, while shopping for these mementos, be alert - many shops are notorious for painting any old wood black and passing it off as the finest ebony to the unsuspecting traveller. The best way to guard against this is to get the shop assistants to chip off some of the wood from the bottom and see what colour lies beneath. A staggering range of figurines is available at Gizenga Street in Stone Town, Zanzibar, a narrow shopping corridor flanked by many hole-in-the-wall outlets. Be prepared to bargain hard though. I grabbed my medium-sized pair for the equivalent of Rs 700.

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