During the Autumn term 2023 Horniman’s Museum supported us in our celebration of Black History Month.

During our Black History Month celebrations, Horniman’s Museum & Gardens were kind enough to support us by loaning us some African artefacts from their collection.

We were also please to welcome Eleanor Hamblen – Formal Learning Officer from Horniman’s, who held sessions with the students to display and demonstrate all of the artefacts and their uses.

Students were very engaged in the sessions and had great fun.

A huge thank you to Eleanor Hamblen and to Horniman’s Museum & Gardens for your support.

Gourd Disc Rattle

  • From: Nigeria
  • Material: gourd, wood, metal

Gourds are hard skinned fruits from the same plant family as pumpkins.  When the gourd is fully dry, it is prepared for use.  This shaker was made by cutting out circular pieces from a prepared gourd shell.


  • From: Nigeria
  • Material: Cotton

Soft, flat-topped hat or Fila, traditionally worn in Nigeria.

Striped metallic fabric with embroidered everlasting knot around the edge.

Ibeji Doll

  • From: Nigeria
  • Material: Wood

The Yoruba people have a high birth rate of twins who are believed to posses special powers. If a twin dies in childhood, their family have a wooden figure carved to represent them. They look after this figure as if they were alive to balance the twins’ shared soul.

Toy Warthog

  • From: Kenya
  • Material: foam

Made from recycled flip-flops by hand in Kenya.  The toy is named “Ngiri” meaning Warthog in Swahili. The recycling initiative is called “Ocean Sole” – discarded flip-flops washed on beaches are recycled into toys.

Gourd Shaker

  • From: South Africa
  • Material: gourd, seeds, stones

Made from a completely dried out gourd.A hole has been made in the side and then plugged with a corn cob.


  • From: Egypt
  • Material: felt

This red felt hat is also referred to as a Fez.

Akuaba Doll

  • From: Ghana
  • Material: Wood

Carried by women on their back to ensure they have a child. Among the Ashanti people, the line of descent passes through the female.

Wire Toy

  • From: South Africa
  • Material: Aluminium

Musician made out of red and gold recycled bottle lids playing a guitar made out of recycled wire.

All information from Horniman’s Museum & Gardens

100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ


  • From: Morocco
  • Material: brass, leather

A pair of brass finger cymbals with leather finger straps and incised zigzag pattern..


  • From: Ghana
  • Material: cotton

Stamp patterned cotton fabric.  The traditional stamp is a piece of gourd shell with a adinkra pattern carved into it.  In Ghana today, the traditional wrap-around use of adinkra cloth is reserved for special occasions such as funerals and the symbols are still chosen to convey certain messages.

Bead Doll

  • From: South Africa
  • Material: wool, cloth, beads

Doll made from a mealie cob covered with cloth and beads, with long black wool hair.

Water Bucket

  • From: Gambia
  • Material: Rubber, Metal

Made by re-using rubber from a tyre inner tube which makes it very strong and stretchy. Two pieces of rub-ber have been stitched together and a circle of wire stitched in to make the neck of the bucket.

Gankogui Bell

  • From: Ghana
  • Material: metal

Gankogui Bell made and played by Ewe of Ghana, Benin and Togo.  When struck, each bell creates a different pitch.

Mud Cloth

  • From: Mali
  • Material: cotton

Black and white Bambara mud cloth with woven de-sign. Known as Bogolanfini, this textile is dyed with fermented mud from riverbeds..

Rag Doll

  • From: Egypt
  • Material: cotton, wire, plastic

Rag doll with multi-coloured clothing and embroidered facial features

Bead Purse

  • From: Uganda
  • Material: Paper, Cotton

The beads are made from old calendars, cornflake packets and magazines. Made by the women of the Acholi and Langi tribe of Northern Uganda.

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