Kisii

Tabaka Soapstone

Tabaka is located about 24 Kilometres from Kisii town and is renowned for its unique Kisii soapstone rocks. Tabaka is the main source of soapstone in Kenya. 

tabaka soapstone

Soapstone carving has been the main pillar of Tabaka’s economy for generations and has created employment for hundreds of young people in the Tabaka area.

The soapstone mining and carving, has been going on since 1885.

The bedrock of soapstone spreads across a 25 square kilometre area. The Mines and Geology Department estimated that the rock runs 800 feet deep. Experts say only 20 percent of it has been exploited so far.

Most of the soapstone is sold as finished products in form of carvings locally and abroad.

Locally, the biggest consumers are tourists who buy the carvings as gifts for friends or for interior decoration.

Malindi, Mombasa, Nyahururu, Thika and Nakuru are the main markets in Kenya.

Since the soapstone is sourced from local farms, mining and carving is often treated as a family income-generating activity. Most families market the finished products to interested buyers individually, although some have organised themselves into groups and co-operatives.