Art & CultureSubfeature

Senegal’s handicrafts: Made in China?

Dakar, Senegal – Every morning, Ibrahima Syla arrives early to open the doors of the Fama Boutique, his shop at the Soumbédioune Craft Village in Dakar’s Medina neighbourhood. Along the narrow shop walls, the entrepreneur arranges his leather creations – handbags, wallets and shoes – fashioned out of snake, crocodile and camel.

“Leather is in my blood,” says the 56-year-old, who learned the art of working with animal pelts from his father. “I can kill the animal, tan it, cut it, and produce it.”

Syla’s handicrafts retail at between $10 and $175, depending on their size and the type of leather. Many of his customers are European or American tourists eager to snag a leather handbag for a fraction of the price they would pay at home.

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