this piece, “gold nobody even knew me” by glenn ligon is a favorite of mine. i grew up in a pan-africanesque community, so i’ve always felt an intense connection to africa. i naively idealized the whole ‘coming home’ spiritual awakening and scene of people running up to me as soon as i deplaned as i prepped to hit the continent for the first time at 16. i got there and was just an american. i was only called ‘sista’ by vendors trying to get me to scoop up their wares. i still had an amazing trip, but it really put things into perspective. adios to speaking kiswahili and going by ‘african’ names. i took on the persona of an american birthed via the african diaspora. that didn’t kill my spirit about supporting african businesses or cause me to skip out on every cultural event happening in bk, but i’m way less cheesy about it.
after living in brooklyn for a jabillion (ok, 7) years, i finally headed over to madiba this week. if the name isn’t obvious, the restaurant is nelson mandela-themed and stocked with popular dishes from south africa. i am obviously all about blocking my blessings because there is no other reason why i would wait so long before visiting. the food was delish! i ordered the lamb curry with rice and a roti on the side. the roti skin was fried perfectly with the fluffiness of a puff pastry. the curry came with a tray of condiments including shaved coconut that sent me over the moon. my friend ordered the peri peri wings. i’m a savage and obviously snatched one up. they were spicy to the point i started sweating, but in the best way! i kept it sober, but south african red wine is my favorite. i’m sure i’ll be back for a boozefest soon. the decor was amazing. the staff was super sweet. the plates are about 20 bucks, but it’s ok to treat yourself every once in a while ya’know?
may means one thing and one thing only…dance africa!!!! dance africa is legit a national holiday for my friends and i. the most beautiful black people on planet earth descend upon ft. greene, brooklyn for a full weekend of pure epicness. there is the actual dance africa show at bam going on from may 17-26, vendors all over the place selling things from every corner of the continent, and most importantly….fishplates! nothing beats sitting on the corner people watching with a huge styrofoam plate full of catfish and mac and cheese in hand. to up the ante, bam will also be hosting a film festival, dance classes, and a dance party. click here for full deets. i was out of town for the last two dance africa fests, but i will be out and about at as many events as i can this go round. if you see me around, feel free to donate a fishplate to my life and don’t forget the hot sauce!
speaking of africa and dancing and fishplates (sorry, everything boils down to fishplates to me), check out “bikini weather corazon en africa”, a dope track from princess nokia‘s new album “metallic butterfly”.
*editor’s note: the owners of madiba, mark and jenny henegen are white, but they are from durban.