Tunisia – Bamboo craftsmen renew their products to keep pace with the times

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Date: 29/05/2022

Location: Tunis- Tunisia

Language: Arabic

Duration: 00:05:16

Sound: Natural

Source: A24 Tunis

Restrictions: A24 Subscribers

Storyline:

Tunisia has been actively promoting the development of bamboo industry to keep pace with the time and maintain its value in the market.

Bamboo craft, a main one in Tunisia, was developed to keep up with the different tastes of customers.

Bamboo plants, traditionally used in furniture, fences, roofs and even houses, don’t grow in Tunisia but the country’s craftsmen import them from Asian countries to use in manufacturing.    

Bamboo stems go through several phases to be ready as raw material for use in making products that are high quality and light in weight, according to the craftsmen.

Shot list:

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):
  • “I learned this craft from a Spanish teacher. I started learning from him in 1955 at Bab Al-Jazira area in Tunis, during the colonial time. After independence, he could not return to Spain so he began teaching me the craft.”
  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“Traditional industries at that time were made in homes and inherited within one family only, and they would not teach it to someone outside the family. President Bourguiba was interested in these traditional crafts, and once he told “My son, learn the craft so that it lasts in our country.”

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“Bamboo is originally from Asian countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and China. They all plant Bamboo and raw materials. Previously, they used to bring us ready-made pieces and sell them to us, but we thought to bring the raw material and make everything by Tunisian hands.”

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“Bamboo is a renewable craft. You can turn a piece into another one. Everything can be made from bamboo stems; indoor and outdoor furniture, and other products. Women love bamboo because it is light.”

  • Soundbite (Fatima Al-Mazoughi – Wife of a bamboo artisan):

“We get these 6 to 8-meter stems, and then we cut them into pieces to make the products. We make innovative products.”

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“Earlier, we used to make pieces for decoration then later we started making pieces for use.”

  • Soundbite (Fatima Al-Mazoughi – Wife of a bamboo artisan):

“Every time we invent something new, these tables, for example, were previously made of the iron and wood, and now we make them with bamboo, and there is a great demand for them.”

  • Soundbite (Fatima Al-Mazoughi – Wife of a bamboo artisan):

“The craft is difficult. Nothing is easy. But when you love it, it becomes a part of you.”

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“I have been doing this craft for 65 years. I was honored by the Prime Minister and received the National Award for Handicrafts. It is awarded to craftsmen who have made efforts and trained generations. This award is a pride for the craftsmen in general.”

  • Soundbite (Fatima Al-Mazoughi – Wife of a bamboo artisan):

“The raw material was cheap. One kilo costs 8 dinars and sometimes 10, but now it costs 30- 40 dinars, and there are only two suppliers for all bamboo artisans in Tunisia.”

  • Soundbite (Muhammad bin Al-Zein Al-Hamami – Artisan in the Bamboo Industry):

“We have to be patient with the conditions of our country, everything will get better. We are patient and keep working.”

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