The deep blue Indigo from Mali

The combination of the warm red country that is Mali and the deep blue of their indigo is a pretty one.

Indigo was the foundation of centuries-old textile traditions throughout West Africa. From the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara to Cameroon, clothes dyed with indigo signified wealth. Women dyed the cloth in most areas, with the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Mandinka of Mali particularly well known for their expertise.

When me and my dad visited Mali, where my sister lives and works for a few years, we went to see Aissata Namoko. She runs Djiguiyaso, the Bamako-based cooperative that provides work for over 100 women in the textile industry in Mali.

Using traditional bogolan tie-dyed with indigo, Djiguiyaso makes use of its artisans’ skills in crochet, weaving, spinning, cutting and sewing to produce 100-percent organic cotton cushions, bedspreads, curtains, dresses, handbags, tablecloths, throws and scarves. In 2010, the cooperative was recognised for its work by UNESCO.