A new hub for Pan-African diplomacy has opened it’s doors in Washington, DC. It’s not an embassy (at least officially) or the new HQ of the African Union. Rather, it’s one of DC’s newest fashionable dining establishments with a continental flair – where your tender goat stew just might come with a side of discussion about global trade or the greater African diaspora.
Welcome to Swahili Village, appropriately dubbed “The Consulate.” The food is pan-African – “We offer you a true taste of not just Kenya but Africa,” the website proudly proclaims – and so is the atmosphere.
Outside its fine dining experience, Swahili Village is creating a cultural enlightenment bridge between the African home continent and the rest of the world – one city at a time. With each location, it supports, educates and enlightens that city and community about African culture and history through food and diversified opportunities.
DC, the second location, boasts a 50-seat convention space where the proprietors welcome events that center on Africa and the global diaspora.
One recent discussion by The Made Man Foundation (TMM) brought several ambassadors from African nations, representatives from African-American organizations, and DC officials. Headlined “Building Better Bridges – US, African Nations, and the Diaspora.” It was the first in a series of such gatherings TMM is hosting during their 100 Days of Action campaign focused on building a global coalition among African nations and the worldwide diaspora and promote trade relationships.
“It was the perfect environment to discuss these topics,” explains Dr. Ky Dele, director of The Made Man Foundation. “If this is going to be the African Century, we have to make sure Washington is a hub for these efforts.”
The kitchen is run by owner-operator and executive chef Kevin Onyona from Kenya who saw the need for a more casual space to open up dialogs on underreported topics and put Africa fully on the map in the nation’s capital.
“We know about the embassies and the African Union but I thought it was important to have a space where the public could congregate and have freer discussions while breaking bread together,” Onyona says. “I also saw an opportunity to introduce more of Africa’s diverse cultures so The Consulate was born out of that.”