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UK: A bit of Zim in Leeds on Sundays

Chef Stooge handles the gochi gochi

DJ Hanief makes sure the locals dance to Sungura and ZimDancehall

05/06/2017 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu I gilbert@newzimbabwe.com
Elaine Joy DuBois - Leeds Family BBQ host

*If you want your own Zimbabwe-themed community events to be covered by NewZimbabwe.com get in touch  via email - gilbert@newzimbabwe.com

UK: ONE of the biggest challenges Diasporans struggle with is the absence of Zimbabwe in their new lives; that cultural and emotional disconnect with home.

And it’s not a paradoxical lament; not if one understands that the decision to live in lands distant was not a rejection of home and therefore self; rather it was just a natural and normal seeking of opportunities where they could be found.

The things missed are often the simplest; a nearby bottle store where you can walk to at daybreak, pretending you’re off to buy the newspaper when it’s the head-mangling hangover you plan to address.

But a number of places have been established now in many countries, helping Zimbabweans settled there to recreate that feeling of home.

For West Yorkshire in the UK, the Leeds Family Barbecue has fast become the Sunday service of choice for many Zimbabweans.

Launched in 2015, the barbecue was intended for the few summer months and targeted at the local Zimbabwean community. But two years later, it’s an all-year-round Sunday gathering.

More than that, it’s now a multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural event bringing together Africans from East, West and South, as well as locals – both white and black.

Barbecue venue in Leeds

“We started the project in 2015,” said host Elaine Joy DuBois, who runs the barbecue with partner Isaac Mhazi.

“Initially the plan was to open for the summer and close it down. However, news about the event spread fast and people kept coming so we had to remain open throughout the winter and, two years later, we are still here.”

The barbecue is held Sunday afternoons at the Hunslet Green Community Centre with ‘Chef Stooge’ dealing with the ‘gochi gochi’ and DJ Jah Hanief introducing the locals Zimbabwean Dancehall and Sungura.

Explaining the background to the project further, Joy told NewZimbabwe.com; “We decided to launch the project because we wanted to provide a platform that would help bring the community together.


“When people come here, they can expect a warm and friendly welcome, a family atmosphere, live music and good food.  

“It is also a place where people can come together to network. Groups such as the Zimbabwe Leeds Community have held their meetings here.”

She added; “We went to the Leeds West Indian Carnival last year and raised the Zimbabwean flag high.

“God really smiled on us as people came from everywhere to our stand. This year we want to double our efforts to represent Zimbabwe well.”

Going forward, she explained; “Our plan for this summer is to promote more widely across Leeds and West Yorkshire.

“So far, we have had visitors from as far as Birmingham, Coventry, Leeds and Newcastle. We are also looking to continue reaching out to more nationalities.

“There are also a few other projects we considering and will talk about later. For now, we just want to say thank you to our supportive and ever-loyal customers who have supported us through thick and thin.

"We are also greateful to the many other people without whom we wouldn’t be here today.”

Leeds Family BBQ in Pictures:

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