Latest news from The African Fabric Shop:
22 Apr 2020
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African Fabric Shop coronavirus updates

  • Online SALE 25-26 April - 10% off with exclusive Promo Code
  • How are our suppliers in Africa?
  • Can you spare £1 to help?
Scroll down for details...

COVID-19 cancels Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta

Instead: we're having an online SALE. 2 days only: 25-26 April

This weekend we should have been in the New Forest at one of our favourite events - the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta.
Instead - like all of you - we're home looking for something inspiring to keep us busy and out of each other's hair.
How's this for an idea?
Exclusively for subscribers to our newsletter - that's you - let's have an online sale.
You'll need the Promo Code below to SHOP and SAVE.

Bob loves Brockenhurst Fiesta

Use your exclusive Promo Code: SPRING2020

It's easy.
  • Browse our website
  • Shop till your fingers bleed.
  • At checkout, enter the Promo Code SPRING2020 and remember to click the Apply button.
  • Our system will automatically apply a discount of 10% to your purchase (before shipping, that is).
  • Plus: you can use this Promo Code as much as you like. But this weekend only.

Textile Traders joins in SPRING2020 10% off SALE

Diane and Jim Gaffney - our great pals and co-organisers of World Textile Day - specialise in handmade textiles from across Asia. They're in the same boat as us - nothing to do this weekend! - so they're joining in as well.
For a 10% discount on fine Asian textiles, Java batiks and more, go to: and enter code SPRING2020.

COVID-19 devastates African trade: Can you spare £1 to help

Our suppliers don't sell their products only to The African Fabric Shop.
Yes, our business helps them a lot. But their main source of income is local trade.
Right now, much of Africa has joined the rest of us in lockdown. Once bustling markets are shut and travel - the lifeblood of commerce - has all but stopped.
This has hit our small-scale suppliers where it hurts most - on the table.
As a business with our own COVID related problems, there is a limit to what we can order and what can be shipped to us from Africa.
On a personal level, we are doing what we can to help our friends financially.
Now, we're doing something we've never done before: asking you for donations to help our suppliers and friends in Africa.

No beads, no traders, no money:
the empty bead market in Koforidua, Ghana

Please donate

Can you spare £1?
Or... if you want to give more, just change the quantity in your shopping basket.
Meda ase
Jerre jeff
Asante sana
Thank you

NEW Shwe Shwe jewellery kit:
Maseru bracelet

All over Southern Africa - including in Lesotho, where we were earlier this year - you'll find women wearing and using genuine Shwe Shwe fabrics.

  • In fashion: from the catwalk to local markets
  • In accessories: from bags to shoes
  • And in our latest easy-to-make necklace kit featuring brightly coloured Shwe Shwe beads

View and buy: our NEW Maseru bracelet kit

Remember: we only sell genuine Shwe Shwe fabrics,
designed and printed by Da Gama Textiles
in South Africa.

How are friends and suppliers coping?

We're in regular contact with our friends and suppliers, mostly in The Gambia and Ghana.
The Gambia has only 10 cases to date, but WHO predictions about how the virus could spread in Africa are dire.
Musa tells us that markets are shut and almost nobody is moving around, severely impacting the ability to earn money and buy food. Everybody in his family is confined to their compound. Musa has a tap, so handwashing is paramount.

Source: WHO and

In Ghana - over 1,000 cases so far - the effect of lockdown has been predictable. With most people earning their living in the informal cash economy, market traders and self-employed workers like our suppliers are hurting the most.
Bannor and Oklah - who both make beads for us - report that empty markets mean money and food are both scarce.
In the northern town of Bolgatanga, Greg has all of his basket weavers working at home now instead of in the Baba Tree compound. To sustain them, Greg bought a truckload of maize. Key staff  remain on-site filling orders and working at a distance under a strict handwashing regime.

Virtual Quilt project: statement of hope is going viral

The Virtual Quilt - a statement of hope in the COVID-19 crisis - is growing block-by-virtual-block on the website of textile artist Dionne Swift.
At just shy of 250 blocks so far, it's now too big to fit on Bob's big Mac screen! The best we can do now is show you four blocks submitted by pals of The African Fabric Shop. Thanks to all who've made blocks so far. Keep 'em comin' at
Blocks made by - clockwise from top left: Monika Machon, Aileen Churchill, Gretchen Sanders-Mwuara, Liz Hewitt.

Janice Gunner launches her new website

Around here we fondly refer to our dear friend Janice Gunner as 'The African Fabric Shop's midwife'. In many ways, Janice's infectious enthusiasm is what got Magie started way back at the turn of the millenium.

What will you find on her new website?
Janice's quilts | Janice's workshops | City & Guiles courses | Janice's tours

Don't miss Janice's latest news: Sign up for Janice's e-Newsletter

World Textile Day Central & Scotland cancelled

Who knows what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months. We certainly don't.
Which means that we have now officially cancelled our two World Textile Days in June. It's the right thing to do.
  • World Textile Day Central 6 June at King's Sutton, Oxfordshire CANCELLED
  • World Textile Day Scotland 13 June at Bridge of Allan CANCELLED
  • All other World Textile Days in the autumn are - for now - still on. Fingers crossed we have all weathered the storm by then and things are at least partially back to normal.
Until then, please take all necessary precautions to protect yourselves and and the world’s communities.
Diane, Jim, Magie and Bob


We hope you've noticed... in between posting out online orders, keeping the shop in order, organising Shop Open Days and zooming off to Africa... we're trying to keep our fellow fabric fanatics up-to-date via Instagram.
We hope you enjoy our stories!
African Fabric Shop on Instagram

For a full listing of African Fabric Shop events, refer to our website:
Copyright © 2020 The African Fabric Shop, All rights reserved.

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