Shopping for Chitenge Material

Susan and Lynn are coming to the end of their two weeks in Blantyre and will be returning to Lilongwe on Sunday 17 April. On Thursday they visited the Limbe area of the city, about 20 minute drive from the centre where there is a huge market and lots of shops. The market is a good source of denim for the ladies to sew with. The picture shows a stall with piles of second hand jeans. The ladies pay about 850 kwacha (90p) for a pair.

The shops are all small units and there is a row of them selling chintenge (the traditional African fabric) and waxed cotton.  Each shop has a small selection and we went into over 10 shops and bought several lengths for ties and to bring back to the UK. We then went to the Mapeto Whitex wholesaler which has a big selection of chintenge, all hung up and numbered. You have to ask for the number you are interested in and the men fetch one from stock for you to unfold and decide about.  The pieces are all 4 yards long and cost 2000 kwacha (just over £2) each. The choice was mesmerising.  We bought 8 different fabrics, some for here in Malawi, some for the sewing group in Chester and some for each of us.