They always say that necessity is the mother of invention. It certainly has been in the case of our latest venture. One combining the colours and patterns of the local chitenge fabric with the fabric of a greater issue – sustainability.

Our new colourful chitenge dish covers originated out of a desire to reduce plastic at the lodge. While wholly transforming the face of our kitchen, the move has laid seeds of sustainable thinking in our whole team, as well as with our guests, and it has led to a burgeoning new entrepreneurial project for the creators – the women of the villages alongside us on the Zambezi River. Communities we already work closely with through various empowerment projects, involving everything from seeds to crafts.

As for the chitenge covers, Royal Chundu owner, Tina Aponte shares the story of their origin:

“Gladwrap and plastic drive me bonkers. Unless it’s recyclable. In the kitchen at the lodge, we were using so much Gladwrap. When we wrap glasses for our picnics for instance. It was my pet peeve, so we started working with the ladies in the village to make these covers from chitenge fabric, with all the bright colours and they’re elasticated to go over all our cups and dishes.

“Predominantly, we were only using them in our kitchen, but now the ladies stock them in the village as well to sell. They are made of the local fabric and provide another job for the ladies to make business from and we’ve gotten rid of plastic. They’re a vibrant clash of colours, but you know in a garden nothing matches.”

They also make lovely berets…

Come to our stand at We Are Africa in Cape Town in May this year and we might have one or two for you to use at home… Alternatively, during your stay at the lodge you can visit the artists for yourself and purchase your own covers from the Malombo market.

Not keen to wait? Let us know if you wish to purchase any and we’ll see what we can do.