Maridadi – beautiful crafts from all over Africa

By Darlyne Komukama

July 4, 2015

You’ve probably seen this shop front while walking through Oasis Mall and never ventured inside saying to yourself the same thing I said to myself every time I walked by, “Looks too expensive.” How wrong we were.

Maridadi has since changed location and finding out how fairly priced, even sometimes just down right cheap a lot of the things are isn’t the only thing I was impressed with when I got a chance to visit their new home. Located on 8 Kintu Road, opposite the Imperial Royale Hotel, in the same complex as a restaurant, a shisha lounge, a bar lounge, a hair saloon and a travel office, Maridadi feels right at home in this eclectic mix of businesses.
Maridadi crafts 1
Maridadi is filled to bursting with carefully, sometimes painstakingly, hand-made crafts from all over Africa that are equally carefully curated to bring you an exquisite range of African styles. Crafts from countries such as Niger, Madagascar, Tunisia, South Africa, Kenya and of course Uganda with a few pieces from India, Turkey and Yemen.

The hardest thing about Maridadi is trying to drink in all the beauty in one go.

I would advise you take your time. Walk around, peer into every bowl and every display case and still be prepared to be surprised on subsequent visits as the myriad crafts on sale just keep revealing themselves to you with every revolution around the shop.

Maridadi DECORSince 2008, when the shop opened, Maridadi has been amassing an impressive list of suppliers. On the day of the review, new mixed media art pieces by Ugandan artist Ronex had just been put up around the store along with jewellery the artist fashions from metal and then engraves.

Every single piece in the shop really speaks to how fine and delicate the work to create them is.

I particularly found the cow horns with wildlife scenes carved into them by what seems like a complicated process of cutting out on the bits of the horn that will allow the vision of the artist to be realised. In the end, you get this lovely unique cow horn with art carved in it.Maridadi main

These are not the only unique pieces of art you’ll find at Maridadi.I squealed with delight at the sight of little girl stuffed dolls that are actually dark skinned. I was warmed by the ideal that so many little Ugandan girls can now play with toys that actually look like people they know.The dolls are made by a female Ugandan artisan who sells enough of these to send her children to school.

Beautiful sandals crafted from leather, embroidered and given lugabire (tyre rubber) soles.

A gorgeous chess set made out of soap stone. All this beauty and Maridadi manages to do it in line with their commitment to fair trade and to promoting their products in an eco-friendly way.

Let’s talk about prices.

They range from UGX 4,000 (yes, I kid you not) for the smaller items like rings carved from wood and can go up to UGX 700,000 but if you’ve seen a Ronex original, I think you will agree that that’s a more than reasonable price to pay for it. Sandals cost an average of about UGX 40,000 while some of the silver jewellery costs an average of UGX 70,000.

Maridadi bagsThe word ‘maridadi’ in Swahili means ‘beautiful’ and Maridadi definitely manages to live up to its name and maybe even a little more.

Drop by and treat yourself and while you’re there, why not pop on upstairs and say hello to us at The Pearl Guide. See you soon 🙂

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