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Our Story

Where it Began...

Having moved from the UK to Uganda in the 1980's, Lesley Magnay (our founder) had been used to seeing the magnificent Ankole cows being grazed and herded along the sides of the road, but what of the bi-product of this animal?  The horns Lesley knew were burnt as waste – surely this was a wonderful sustainable material that could be recycled? So, in 2012, Lesley founded East African Trading (now Ankole) and over a decade later, we work closely with many local, family run businesses, all located within a mile of Lesley's family home in Kampala.

 

 

OUR ETHICS...

From the day we began in 2012, our purpose has been to make use of this truly unique, natural material whilst respecting the environment, we adopt low impact solutions and completely concentrate our production at local level, supporting local businesses within the local community.  We source all of our horn exclusively and directly from local farmers of Ankole cows, creating much-needed additional revenue within the rural community. All of the beef cattle that our horns come from are free-range and bred in compliance with the ethological habits of the animals.

 

 

 

Hand Crafted...

Our workshop is run by a local family who sand and polish each pair of horns revealing the most beautiful natural colours. The horns can then be left as they are, making for amazing centrepieces in your home or are heated, split and moulded into smaller products either by hand or in a press mould. 

 TRADITION...

For centuries cow horn has been used for drinking vessels and buttons. At Ankole, we harness this age-old craft, to transform Ugandan cow horn into exquisite pieces of homeware, gifts and jewellery. By up-cycling the horns of Ankole cattle we create sustainable luxury.

SUPPORTING SMALL...

From the sourcing of materials to the production of our products, we support small Ugandan businesses, some of which have been friends since childhood. Our gift boxes and carrier bags are handmade by a local women's group, all using recycled paper and banana fibre. 

Our horn bags are made by a friend, Melissa who we bought a sewing machine for, three years ago. Melissa now has a thriving business using her machine to make dresses which she sells in her local community.