Last weekend we spent the afternoon at Africa on the Square, a London event that brings together a range of African communities, artists, designers and groups.
Africa on the Square was held in Trafalgar Square and brought a true African vibe – people were dancing, kids were running around just about on the right side of hyper, there were lots of food stalls with a range of dishes from different parts of the continent, drumming circles and various entertainers, and a certain amount of organized chaos. It was still the UK though, so you had bossily polite security guards ensuring you didn’t stand on the steps, clean toilets and no sun.
We met up with our friend Rachel from Mozambique, and enjoyed the music for a while. Lauren joined in a drumming group and then we went in search of some xima, which is cooked maize flour and is a staple in Mozambique. I can’t stand the stuff, but Lauren misses it. Its cooked in different ways all across southern Africa, so we thought we might be in with a chance, but after visiting every single stall we were empty handed. We did meet a lovely Malawian lady though who thought it hilarious that we were seeking it out.
After the fashion show we decided to go for a drink, and incredibly we happened to chance upon a South African grocery shop in one of the backstreets near embankment. Once we got past the biltong, it was just like ‘home’ with many of the brands and goods we had in Maputo. Including, much to Lauren’s delight, bags of maize meal. I now have to try to work out how to cook it – seriously I have no idea as the empregada always made it for Lauren so if any of our Mozambique friends could post instructions in the comments, they’d be most welcome. I would have thought it was just a case of boiling it up, with lots of stirring, but I know that I had to restrict Cacilda to one pan only for making xima because the pan always gets bent out of shape, so I am intrigued as to what one has to do that would have such an effect on the pan? I’m also rather wary of ruining our friends’ pans…. Help, please, Maputenses?
Anyway, the evening was cut short when our foolhardy ‘let’s just grab a drink’ was confronted with the reality of the masses on Saturday night in central London and the rules on children in pubs. Seriously, it’s such an unfriendly place for kids. Rachel and I promised ourselves a proper catch up with a bottle of wine one night in the very near future. Sans child. Looking forward to it.