Le raffia ou le bambou africain/ Raffia or the African bamboo

Le palmier de raphia
le palmier de raphia/
Raffia palm tree

Le raphia (raffia) est un des nombreux palmiers qui poussent à travers l’Afrique, plus particulièrement en Afrique centrale, et à Madagascar.  L’arbre de raphia (raphia farinifera ou raphia ruffia) a de très longues feuilles qui peuvent atteindre jusqu’à 18 m de long.  Chaque branche du raphia peut avoir au moins 100 petites feuilles.  La fibre de raphia, telle celle de jute, est douce, flexible et robuste.  Le raphia est utilisé en Afrique pour diverses utilisations, notamment pour faire des meubles de maison (tabouret, table), pour faire les toitures internes des maisons, les lits (communément appelé lit de bambou de raphia), de longues ficelles pour grimper sur les arbres; mais aussi dans l’industrie vestimentaire, pour faire des chapeaux, des paniers, etc.  A Madagascar, la fibre de raphia est aussi utilisée pour concevoir une tenue vestimentaire traditionelle appelée rabanne.  Aujourd’hui, la fibre de raphia est exportée à travers le monde!  Cherchez bien… vous retrouverez le raphia dans votre maison!

Anna Sui Raffia purse
Anna Sui Raffia purse

Dans la video qui suit (du Cameroun), vous assisterez à la fabrication d’un tabouret traditionnel fait à base de bambou de raphia!

The raphia (raffia) is one of the numerous palm tree species found in Africa, particularly in central Africa and Madagascar.  The raffia palm tree (raphia farinifera or raphia ruffia) is made of long leaves that can attain up to 60 ft (18 m) in length. Each raffia palm branch is made of nearly 100 leaflets. The raffia fiber, just like jute, is soft, pliable, and strong.  Raffia is used in Africa for various applications such as to make furniture (table, chairs), internal roofs to houses, beds, to make ropes used to tie up plants, and binding together vegetables to be marketed; but also in the clothing industry to make hats, shoes, baskets, and mats. 
Raffia baskets
Raffia baskets
In Madagascar, people use raffia to make a native cloth known as rabanne.  Today, the raffia fiber is exported throughout the world.  Look carefully,… you might find some raffia lying around the house!

The following video shows the fabrication of a chair using the raffia bamboo, in Cameroon. Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Le raffia ou le bambou africain/ Raffia or the African bamboo

  1. Pingback: African Small trades: the Static Shoemaker « African Heritage

  2. Pingback: Les petits metiers: le Vannier / Small Trades: the Basket-maker « African Heritage

  3. enrouleur pour bache a bulles

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  5. Pingback: History of African Fabrics and Textiles | African Heritage

  6. Hi my name is Jean-Paul Zephire and i’m from mauritius island. I’m a blind rafia manufacturer. Autually i’m looking for raw materials ( rafia) for my business. i’m on facebook if you want to see my products. if someone can contact me for such business… thanks in advance


  7. Pingback: Queens of Africa and Naija Princesses Dolls | African Heritage

  8. Pingback: The History of African Prints | Simply Felicia

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