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UK: Zimbabwe-born farmer opens supermarket

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A Zimbabwean based in the United Kingdom is set to open a departmental store with a grocery shop, salon, butchery, recruitment agency and restaurant in Walsall, West Midlands.
Businessman and farmer, David Mwanaka, also runs another shop in London but the latest venture, which sits on 12,000 square feet with two floors, might be the only one or one of a few such shops opened by a black person in the UK. It opens its doors to the public on December 1.
“The hair dressing salon is being run by Mrs Hazel Sango who owns Tete Hazel Hair and Beauty Parlour. They have moved from their Norwich site to team up with us at the West Midlands store. Tete Hazel is well known for being a top stylist in the hairdressing industry,” said Mwanaka.
He added, “We will also have groceries from different African countries and will continue with our theme of selling beef on the bone and other meat products in our butchery. On the other hand, our restaurant will specialise in Afro-Caribbean food with a twist.
“It’s going to be with a twist because we are not going to be limited by the term ‘Afro-Caribbean’. What we want is good food and that’s what we will serve. I hope the restaurant is the beginning of a chain of restaurants under the name, ‘Jamrocker’.
“Our recruitment agency, B and D M Care Services Ltd has already started recruiting nurses and healthcare staff. We are also looking at recruiting teachers from abroad.
“The fashion Boutique will be run by non-other than Pastor Cecilia Dewa who owns fashions boutiques in London, notably Finsbury Park. Her Cerrura Fashions is famous for selling among other things, exclusive quality occasion wear. Her boutique is also a one stop wedding shop.
“What is unique with our shop is that it is probably the first black owned supermarket in the UK to have so many departments. We are also open to anyone who has a good business idea and is looking for a space to run from.”

Mwanaka has also been growing 150 acres of maize in the cold UK climate despite initial discouragements from agronomists who argued that the crop could not grow to maturity under such conditions.
“This year we did manage to venture into growing a few exotic crops like mapudzi/amakhomani and imfe/ipwa. Increasing our acreage made it possible for us to experiment growing new crops,” Mwanaka said.Advertisement

He freezes some of the fresh harvest for sale when they are out of season.
“We also have the usual products like sweet potatoes, fresh groundnuts, pumpkins and in addition we have fresh bambara nuts (nyimo/indlubu),” he said.
Meanwhile, Mwanaka said he would want to see politicians and the military respecting the rule of law following the military take-over, conditions needed for the birth of a new Zimbabwe.