Out of My Africa

The verandah of our home in Tanzania opened out into a garden, lush with tropical plants. I spent most of my time there. You see, I had converted that space into my studio and dining and sitting area. I lit anti-mosquito ‘kachua-chaap’ coils and painted, read, ate, and lectured my children there! There is a catch in my heart even as I think about the place!

I also loved the fact that there were beaches I could go to anytime I wished and, of course, to the rich wildlife reserves everywhere ! Every time I stepped out of our house, there was something that always stood out- the sight of the beautiful, ebony skinned women in their brilliantly coloured,  un-stitched garments- the ‘kanga’.  I bought many kangas, tried to copy the style of the women- not too successfully, but wore them anyway, used them as table covers and on the ceiling(I wish I had taken pictures!).

Among what I proudly owned was also an appliqued bed spread made by an enterprising group of women. It is my most favorite African fabric. To me it almost encapsulates Africa ! I had  based a series of paintings on this appliqued piece.(Just for an idea of these paintings click here-and scroll down to the ‘Africa’ section) Here it is- is it not gorgeous ?

IMG_6311 Now, far way, in another corner of the world, Ireland, this piece beckoned ! Time I put it on my table to relive my memories of Africa ! What else did I have from Africa ? I raided my shelves and tables and got some fabulous dried,etched gourds, a few ebony sculptures and ‘Tinga Tinga’ painted steel glasses-I’ll never be able to pick a favourite among these African crafts–I love them all !

IMG_6370 And then right outside, in our garden, something equally vibrant- to match my fabric-was ready to lend itself to our table- the Vancouver Gold shrub–simply bursting with tiny, bright yellow flowers ! There were just so many that a few stems cut and taken made not the slightest difference -so, you know, no guilt ! Just look at the profusion-

IMG_6384 And so I arranged my building blocks on my table- for a tea . Alright-so it was not going to be Delicate- Pink-White tea table– but so what– this would be Vibrant -Strong-African Tea Table ! Here is a beautifully etched gourd-

AfricaTableWhite-Deba The ebony carving of a Masai head–a rich, dark brown in the core and a regular beige in the outer layer-

IMG_6365A ‘Tinga-Tinga’ painted steel glass -and another, very African, carved gourd-




IMG_6356And I added crockery. I was a little tired of using government crockery. My one and a half sets are lying in unopened boxes- when I remember them-I say a little prayer-God,keep them intact !  So I borrowed this set from Josephine, our housekeeper. This was a clever, clever charity shop find- yes, 16 pieces of crockery for Euro 3 ! You know what they say about one man’s trash becoming another’s treasure !

SG206471Here it is with black Fabindia napkins, a sprig of Vancouver gold flowers following the line of the bamboo motif on the plate-

IMG_6362 A few of you asked me and I checked-Fabindia does have an online shop with some of their fabulous products (Prices are in rupees but can be converted)- see here.

SG206477 I know you are wondering what the green liquid in the glasses is !  Well, it is khus sherbet- vetiver grass sherbet, commonly consumed in India as an Ayurvedic/Unani cooling drink-fabulous with a squeeze of lemon. Many Indian grocery shops would stock this drink. If you haven’t tried it–give it a go !  I served it not only because it is refreshing and different but -you may have guessed it- it matches my composition !













IMG_6359 Then I love to see the garden with my table in the foreground -I noticed that the khus in the glass is the same colour as the garden –




IMG_6360 So there it is-a small part of my memories of Africa – on my table !  This is Out of my Africa !

To see other tablescapes on my blog click here.

Thank you for coming by!  Please leave a comment because I love to hear from you.

I have linked this post to : Between Naps on the Porch,

No Minimalist Here.

Savvy Southern Style

From My Front Porch To Yours.

Do ‘follow’me by email(just means you will receive my articles on your email- you don’t have to worry-your account remains private!) and please ‘like’ my blog page(somethingspecialbyadity)on facebook–both signs are on the upper right side of the page.


About Adity

Hello ! You are either already a friend or will become one--through this medium! I am an artist and jewellery maker, a wife and mother to two lovely children. Beautiful homes, food, nature and wonderful things happening around me make me ecstatic. That is why I started to write this blog-- to share with you all of these things. After all what good is any experience if not shared !
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14 Responses to Out of My Africa

  1. shikha chaki says:

    Adity,enjoyed reading the piece.I think you had put a similar bed spread in the room where I stayed on my visit.Its really vibrant and the flowers are so pretty and bright too.I also have some ebony pieces…one of them given by you…the rest from Nigeria ,from the time when we were there.
    I love reading your blog…keep it up.

    • Thanks,Shikha di! Yes, it was a similar bedspread in your room . Flowers at this time in Europe are incredible–in the wooded area behind our house-I have just discovered trees FULL of white flower clusters–they are elderberry,I think. You will know them all from Nainital!

  2. shampa das says:

    I simply love your blogs…please carry on…..

  3. poonam patnaik says:

    Super Composition Aditi. It is a feast for the eyes.

  4. chetna says:

    wow, this brought back very fond memories of gorgeous Africa. very beautifully put together.

  5. I love all your special African touches! Your entire table looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  6. uttora ratna says:

    My visit to you in Tanzania was one of the most memorable holidays I have had. Right from the scenic beauty ,to the sea,your friends,group”adity”, your verandah,artist friends, the evening on the ship, Zanzibar and Sadani..”demolishing” plateful of prawns before the eyes of all and sundry and beautiful dinners with frangipani strewn on the tables….oh it was wonderful.
    This brought it all back. Thanks ever so much.Need I say more…..

  7. geetika says:

    Just like you said “Ah, Tanzania!” No further explanation needed. Lots of love.

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