Food is central to all parts of the world – but the connection the black diaspora has with their food is something of its own. It is their way of merging two different cultures and paying homage to their origins. For many years, entrepreneurial food companies have thrived across South East London, supplying and delivering home-made products to African and Caribbean communities.
Feeding Black will shed light on four different companies that are dedicated to the diet of Londoners and have become valued locals for so many: Livity Plant Based Cuisine, African Cash & Carry, Junior’s Caribbean Stall and Zeret Kitchen.
Tafeswork Belayneh in her Café Zeret Kitchen in Camberwell © Jonas Martinez / Museum of London
Cooking in the Zeret kitchen © Jonas Martinez / Museum of London
Livity Plant Based Cuisine is run by the two sisters Kaleema and Kareema Shakur-Muhammad based in Croydon. They offer healthy plant-based Caribbean food and a variety of herbs and natural products from Jamaica.
Eugene Takwa is behind African Cash & Carry. Originally from Cameroon, he moved to the UK to study marketing. After realizing a niche in the market, he joined his brother and opened the store. Based in Woolwich, it is a multidimensional space that serves West African cuisine and offers services to send money “home”.
Junior’s Caribbean Stall is run by Junior, who came to the UK from Jamaica at the age of 23. After working multiple jobs and helping his uncle at a market stall in Catford, he set up his food stand in Woolwich in 2007, selling African and Caribbean products such as fruits, vegetables, spices and even homemade soups. His business is known as “Harrods of Woolwich”.
Eugene Takwa at African Cash & Carry in Woolwich © Jonas Martinez / Museum of London
Produce at African Cash & Carry in Woolwich © Jonas Martinez / Museum of London
Junior in front of Junior’s Caribbean booth in Woolwich © Jonas Martinez / Museum of London
Zeret Kitchen in Camberwell is owned and run by the Ethiopian Tafeswork Belayneh, the author of the vegan cookbook “Zeret at Home”. After evolving from a quintessentially English fry-up café, the kitchen attracts people from all over the country with its popular vegan menu.
The exhibition will portray these stories through carefully selected objects, recipes and videos, as well as newly commissioned photographs by Jonas Martinez. There will also be original oral lore and soundscapes by Kayode Kayodeine Gomez. All will be collected and considered for purchase by the museum for its permanent London collection.
Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place opens July 16 to July 17, 2022 at the Sugar & Slavery Gallery in the Museum of London Docklands.