Bringing Africa Awareness Week to Jersey for its 8th Celebration. 

Friends of Africa Jersey CI (FoAJ), in partnership with The Creative Island Partnership, proudly presents a week-long celebration of Jersey’s African-Caribbean communities to mark the eighth year of Africa Awareness Week in Jersey. 

The team at FoAJ are a charity dedicated to enhancing the profile of African-Caribbean culture in Jersey. Their aim is to support the transition and integration into life in Jersey whilst also holding events and activities that share their own culture in schools and workplaces. 

As we celebrate Africa Awareness Week, let’s recognise the members whose contributions have helped shape what this cultural celebration is today.  

Recognising the Volunteers  
Ima and her colleagues at Ima’s Caribbean Coffee Bar

Among them is Ima Joseph-Dial, whose dedication to fostering cultural exchange spans over eight years. Ima’s contribution to FoAJ dates back to the founding of the charity’s name at her house 8 years ago. Upon opening the very first Carribean Coffee shop in Jersey, Ima was able to bring a slice of Caribbean to the Island. 

“A career highlight I’m proud of is as the proprietor of Ima’s Caribbean Coffee Bar on Halkett Street, the first Caribbean restaurant in all the Channel Islands. It went beyond amazing food and music; it united people from all backgrounds in perfect harmony, regardless of colour or creed… And the lively ‘Jump-Up’ Friday parties were legendary”. 

By sharing her success Ima hopes to encourage other people of colour that they can achieve their dreams in Jersey. Her goal is to see a domino effect in businesses so Islanders can enjoy a diverse range of establishments that celebrate culture. 

Ann Muhuro, owner of Muhuro Fashion

Ann Muhoro, another passionate volunteer of FoAJ, has embarked on a journey to bridge cultures through fashion with her brand, Muhoro. By infusing African authenticity into European designs, Ann aims to make African fashion accessible to all, fostering a global movement of inclusivity and appreciation for diverse heritage. 

“Our aim is to make the beauty and authenticity of African fashion accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background. By thoughtfully adapting our designs to harmonise with European weather and lifestyles, we ensure that African fashion becomes practical and appealing to non-Africans as well. Through our bespoke service, clients have the opportunity to express their individuality and style while embracing the charm of African heritage. It’s about fostering a global movement where fashion becomes a bridge connecting diverse cultures and nurturing an appreciation for each other’s uniqueness.” 

Lainah Penttila showcasing African fashion on the High Street

Lainah Merkei-Penttila arrived on the island over two decades ago. She is an advocate for inclusivity in the beauty industry, continuing to break barriers as a makeup artist and fashion wellbeing expert. Through her commitment and as the founder of FoAJ to advocating for diverse representation, Lainah empowers individuals of all backgrounds to embrace their unique beauty. 

“As a makeup artist, I quickly noticed the glaring disparity in beauty products available for individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. The limited options for People of Colour prompted me to advocate for change. I became a voice for inclusivity and gradually witnessed the makeup/ well-being industry broadening its range of shades. Although there is still much ground to cover, we’ve made strides and increased awareness. ”My expertise in Black beauty has established me as the go-to person for advice on fashion and makeup for People of Colour. Women often seek my guidance to find clothes that compliment their beautiful melanated complexions. Wedding guests from England and beyond are directed to me for fashion and makeup expertise. While I’ve gained recognition in the fashion and makeup/wellbeing industry, my commitment goes beyond that. As a mother of a mixed-race son, I advocate for him, helping him navigate the challenges of being a very tall teenager who chooses to wear his hair in beautiful natural locs. I consistently make a point to empower him, assuring him that he doesn’t fit the stereotype he’s consistently subjected to with prejudice.” 

Dean Leith during one of his DJ sets

Dean Leith, also known as DJ Waxxa moved along with his family to Jersey in 2018, before joining the team at FoAJ in 2019.  

“I have always been involved in music. I started off as a DJ and toured with reggae artists such as Steel Pulse and Maxi Priest and I also toured many continents and countries with Reggae Sunsplash (Jamaica). The great thing about being a member is being able to learn more music styles and genres that I was not aware of i.e. Amapiano Afrobeats, Afro House and many more we were able to bring the first Amapiano Deejay to the island and ever since the scene has taken off. Afrobeat has become as prevalent as Dancehall and they both complement each other as they are of a similar sound, from two different parts of the world. FoAJ has been fundamental in the growth of the Caribbean Afro-African music scene in Jersey as there are many Africans and Caribbeans from many different countries on the island. When lockdown started, we saw a gap which needed to be filled. We wanted to bring people from different backgrounds that had one thing in common and that was to have fun and relax when they had the time to do so on the island.”

“I became a selector on some of the biggest sound systems in the U.K. such as Luv Injection and Aquarius Megamix and would clash other sound systems up and down the country on a regular basis. Some of the biggest sound systems in the world like Stonelove, Metro Media, V Rocket etc. I moved toward the Jungle Scene and became an MC and again would MC for lots of big DJs such as Kenny Ken, and DJ Rap and Mickey Finn. I also dabbled in Hip Hop and toured with Busta Rhymes a couple times in Europe. I run a recording studio with my business partner and founder Lee “Contagion” Davis the name of the studio is The Garden, and we are based in Saint Helier.”

Thanks to all the incredible members at the FoAJ, this year Africa Awareness Week promises to be bigger and better than ever, including events hosted in the Royal Square, Museum and Rojos Bar.

If you would like to support this year you can find the full line-up of events here: 

Friends of Africa Jersey C.I 

Friends of Africa Jersey C.I is a Jersey-based charity that positively promotes, shares, celebrates and enhances the profile of African-Caribbean culture and the continents in Jersey and the U.K.

We support the transition and integration into life in Jersey, put on events and activities and share African-Caribbean heritage in schools and workplaces. If you would like to support Friends of Africa, find out how here: .

FoAJ welcome your support, for more information about how you can join their community click here.

The Creative Island Partnership 

The Creative Island Partnership (CIP) has been established by the Government as a forum for individuals interested in working together to deliver the objectives of the Arts Strategy. The CIP provides a space for knowledge exchange, ideas generation and direct engagement with Government. The network includes leaders from arts and cultural organizations, anyone directly engaged and involved with the arts, and lead partners in sport, education, business, health, tourism, and the environment. Members will be a part of developing the pillars of the Arts strategy. If you would like to know more about becoming a CIP member click here.

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