RAMADAN IN NORTH KENSINGTON

italiatelegraph

 

 

 

 

Nayma Chamchoun

 

 

A road in North Kensington London, the same road which hosts Notting Hill Carnival in all her technicolour glory and vibrating island beats, every August. A road that has branched out since the 1960s to flower a cultural melting pot of African/Caribbean, Spanish, Portuguese and North African communities. A stroll along Goldborne Road reveals the imprint of these communities, blended into the fabric of the neighbourhood.

The Portuguese Cafes who spill onto the pavement where chattering clientele sup on a galal accompanied with a creamy nata. The market stalls who boast an array of Caribbean fruit and vegetables. The market stall holders who have adapted to the diversity of the community, incorporating Darija words into their interactions with customers. The Spanish delicatessen displaying an array of dried meats perfumed in the faint aroma of saffron. A Palestinian flag spray painted on a lumpen wall and unfurling from the scattered windows of high rise blocks.

Ramadan arrives in Little Morocco in London and the smell of simmering harira spills onto the streets. The Moroccan butchers parade an assortment of Ramadan delights, chebakiya, baghrir, msemen, mini pastillas etc. The empty chairs and tables in the cafes, where North African men usually socialise and put the world to rights, bear testament to the abstinence of the month.

As the day stretches out towards the setting of the sun the mosque workers set up their table to hand out ftor meals for those feeling the economic pinch. At the Moroccan food carts students, the undocumented and the lonely gravitate towards the smell of home cooking, taking their seats at the cart, breaking bread with their homeboys for a taste of home.

North Kensington home to the largest North African community in the UK. Where a stroll through her streets recalls the essence of palm treed medinas, where the Anglo-Saxon architecture and culture is glazed with the senses of the motherland and the colours of white and blue and green find reunion in the red that beats at the heart of each community. In this most sacred of months as the community take pause from the outer to reflect on the inner, the outer and inner merge to create a tableau of interfaith, interracial and multicultural splendour.. A feast of acceptance, tolerance, unity, coexistence, charity, kindness and love. A home where the heart is.

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