Ensuring a Future

Tribal Textiles, Zambia

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Drying hand painted textiles.
Drying hand painted textiles.

Based in Mfuwe, close to the edge of South Luangwa National Park, Tribal Textiles has been in operation since 1991. The company was started by Gillie Lightfoot who with a small group of local artists translated her dream of traditional and contemporary African art and design for the home into reality.

The company produces 100% cotton hand painted textiles, soft furnishings and accessories for the home, supplying the local safari and retail markets and over the years has grown substantially developing markets in Europe, the USA and Japan.

The painting workshop at Tribal Textiles.

Tribal Textiles are proud of their collaboration with the local community. The artistic talents of employees have helped to make the company a global success. Training is provided to employees so that skills can be developed. Education and health support is also provided for employees and their families and a regular wage which keeps the extended family in basic food and support. The company is recognised by fair trade buyers worldwide.

Starching activity in the Tribal Textiles Paintshop.
 Starching activities in the Tribal Textiles workshop.

Tribal Textiles employ 90 staff from the surrounding community. Traditionally, employment has been generated from subsistence agriculture and more recently through seasonal tourism generated by development of safari and game lodges in and surrounding the South Luangwa National Park.


Intent concentration as paint is applied in the Tribal Textiles paintshop.
Intense concentration as paint is applied in the Tribal Textiles paint shop.


Tribal Textiles are a proud and long term supporter of Malimba Community School in Mfuwe.  A short diatance from the workshop, the school started life as a mud hut before developing into a large school teaching 160 5-17 year olds from the local district.  Income generated by sales of Tribal Textiles produce provides vital school resources in a poor rural district. It is largely due to sales of Tribal Textiles products around the world that keeps this school running.