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Bringing Back a Piece of Your African Adventure Back Home

For Nasozi Kakembo, the owner and founder of fair-trade home decor company xN Studio, getting that story right, in a way that helps her feel comfortable selling items made in Uganda, for example, to American customers, requires understanding an item’s cultural context in the place that it is from, in addition to being specific and using the proper names for the item or people who create and use it. Ultimately, she is trying to counter what too often happens to such items. “Pieces from the African continent have been misappropriated just in terms of further removing them and stripping them of their identity,” says Kakembo. “I’ve seen West African textiles in Uganda, I’ve seen Juju hats, which are from Cameroon, in markets in Cape Town, and I wouldn’t expect the average traveler to have any idea. But I hope that, to the extent that a traveler can, they engage that vendor, ask them where the item comes from.”