DATHONGA: Sustainable Handmade Baskets from Mozambique

In the lead up to the launch of What We Cherish, we have been spending time getting to know our brands, and the faces behind the names, better.

First up is Márcia Nangy from Dathonga.

Dathonga designs. African basketry

Q: Why did you start Dathonga?

A: Dathonga was created to honour the past, blending modern designs with traditional artisan knowledge, bringing back our Mozambican craftsmanship and updating crafts while preserving the skills and stories behind them.

Q: You work so hard to preserve Mozambican traditions and to help develop both the crafters involved in the project as well as improve the quality and artisanship of the products produced. What is the most rewarding part of your day-to-day job?

A: The most rewarding part is to give artisans dignified work and, by creating crafts with the natural resources around us, help them be self-sufficient.

Q: What has brought you the most joy since starting Dathonga?

A: Helping women have dignity, a respectable job, and to be self-sufficient through the production of products that are appreciated worldwide.

Q: How do you give back to the community? 

A: Dathonga supports activities in agriculture, kids art, craft workshops and skills development, as well as free training in each sector of the value chain of the craft production.

Q: Where do you see Dathonga in five years?

A: Selling to the world! In five years time, I’d like Dathonga to be available in all the big cities, helping more and more women to create an income for themselves through traditional Mozambican handmade crafts from natural resources as well as more modern crafts.

Q: At the end of the day, what is the impact you’d like to see Dathonga bring to people in Mozambique?

A: The impact I’d like to add to is to help Mozambican and African people recognise the value of our heritage as well as our natural resources which can help us create an income, sustaining ourselves and our communities.

Q: What inspires you the most? What gives you the energy to create and to be an entrepreneur? And how have you brought this energy and vision into Dathonga?

A: The marine life, traditional and ethnic art, and Asa, a Nigerian musician who gives me the energy through her melodies to want to help improve Africa and help give African people dignity.

Q: Who are 3-5 Mozambican creatives/artists/entrepreneurs who inspire you most?

A: Luiggi Junior, Miombo, Ruum, Taibo Bacar and Gonçalo Mabunda.

Q: If someone was visiting Mozambique or your city, what are the top things that they should do or see?

A: In Maputo, you should visit CELO and Dhow Mozambique for the arts, crafts, culture and food. Go to Costa de Sol for the sunset! In my city, Inhambane, go to the market, the Green Turtle in Barra and Tofo Tofo for a meal, Sentidos Beach Retreat, and the Monument of Fallen Heroes.