If you know Brixton you will know that it is a vibrant multicultural melting pot of people, shops, restaurants, bars and the like. With its eclectic and diverse history and cool vibe Brixton is the place to see and be seen.
What many visitors to Brixton don’t know is that slightly off the beaten track, in a more residential part of town there is a new gift shop and cultural hub that encapsulates all that Brixton has to offer and more. This shop is well known by local residents and those lucky enough to be in the know. The name of this shop is Gida, which means ‘Home’ in the Hausa language of Africa.
Gida is a collaboration of three business owners, Jos Brient (of www.azawala.com), Nefateri Asantewa (of http://www.nsaanefateri.com) and Sandra Gordon (of http://www.SLG-creativedesigns.co.uk) who joined forces with their product specialisms to showcase their large range of products in a physical space whilst also giving other creatives an opportunity to showcase their work.
I don’t know about you but I love finding shops that sell things that are a bit different. Not standard, mass produced run of the mill products but unusual, hand made items, original concepts and one off’s. The type of goods that when people see what you’ve bought, say ‘Where did you get that?!’ Well Gida is that type of shop.
A small independent gift shop with a big concept – Gida sells African centred and afrocentric arts, crafts, clothes, jewellery, toys, homewares, books, cards and quirky curios. Gida sources handmade and original products from near and far. Traditional and contemporary products with a soul and a story.
Many of their traditional goods, such as hand carved wooden crafts, are sourced from artisans from Africa and the Caribbean. These goods are ethically produced by local tradespeople. With a philosophy of fair trade the products are bought and given a platform in the UK and in some cases artisans are awarded a percentage of the UK sale. The aim is to support, encourage, nurture and showcase aspiring creatives who do not normally get a platform outside of their own country. A worthy concept.
The more contemporary goods tend to be from up and coming UK based creatives who are given an opportunity to showcase their products or skills in the form of rental space in the shop.
You can easily go into this shop and not know what you will come out with – there is a little bit of everything. What’s nice too is that there is a story behind most of the products, which the owners can tell you about because they have sourced it personally. Which is another thing, you will meet at least one of the owners when you visit the shop and they are all friendly and welcoming – you get great customer service.
I love finding cultural or afrocentic goods, particularly when sourcing a gift. I want the gift and the card to reflect the person that I am buying for. Mainstream shops simply don’t offer that diversity. I don’t want to settle for less than what I really want so I make the effort to go to a specialist shop like Gida.
But, Gida is so much more than a shop. It is fast establishing itself as a cultural hub and community space with almost weekly events held in the shop. Recent events have included ‘Come dine wid we’ where customers were invited to an authentic taste of Africa dining experience.
Spoken word, book launches, wire bending and mosaic workshops, exhibits from black history month, health and wellness events such as Yoni steaming have all taken place there too. You will need to follow them on social media or be on their mailing list to keep in the loop for what’s next!
It’s also a drop in space where customers can order specialist organic teas and coffees, freshly made smoothies or home made cakes all with free wi-fi for those essential catch ups.
Gida is a small shop with a big presence. It has established itself without any formal advertising, just through word of mouth, which is how I got to hear about it. So now I’m telling you about this hidden gem, this little sanctuary, this home from home, but please – keep it amongst yourselves:
Gida, 55 Loughborough Road, Brixton, London SW9 7BT – Tel 0203 583 6387
Twitter – @collectivegida
Facebook – Gida London
Instagram – @gidacollective
© – Elise – Cinnamon & Brown