This July, the Museum of London Docklands will open a free display, Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place, at its London Sugar & Slavery gallery. The exhibit will draw on collaborative community collecting to explore the central role food plays in black entrepreneurship and identity in South East London.
Food is central in all parts of the world – but the connection that the black diaspora has with their food is something in and of its own. It's their way of merging two different cultures and paying homage to where they're from. For many years, entrepreneurial food businesses have thrived across South East London, feeding and providing produce from home to African and Caribbean communities.
Feeding Black will shine a light on four different businesses committed to feeding Londoners and have become treasured locals for so many: Livity Plant Based Cuisine, African Cash & Carry, Junior's Caribbean Stall, and Zeret Kitchen.
Livity Plant Based Cuisine is owned and run by two sisters, Kaleema and Kareema Shakur-Muhammad, based in Croydon. They provide healthy plant-based Caribbean food and a variety of herbs and natural products sourced from Jamaica.
Eugene Takwa is behind African Cash & Carry. Originally from Cameroon, he moved to the UK to study marketing. After identifying a gap in the market, he joined his brother and opened the store. Based in Woolwich, it has stood as a multi-dimensional space, serving West African cuisine and providing services to transfer money 'back home'.
Junior's Caribbean Stall is run by Junior, who arrived in the UK from Jamaica at age 23. After working multiple jobs and helping his uncle in a market stall in Catford, he started his food stall in Woolwich in 2007, where he sells African and Caribbean fruit, veg, seasoning, and even homemade soups. His business is known as the 'Harrods of Woolwich'.
Zeret Kitchen in Camberwell is owned and run by Ethiopian Tafeswork Belayneh, the author of the vegan cookery book 'Zeret at Home'. The kitchen attracts people from across the country with its popular vegan offering after evolving from a typical English fry-up café.
The display will represent these stories through carefully selected objects, recipes, and videos, along with newly commissioned photography by Jonas Martinez. There will also be original oral histories and soundscapes by Kayode Kayodeine Gomez. Everything will be collected and considered for acquisition by the museum for its permanent London collection.
Feeding Black: Community, Power & Place opens at the Sugar & Slavery gallery at the Museum of London Docklands from 16 July until 17 July 2022.