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Folami Jones 

Much more than a place to drink coffee, Kwacha House Cafe’s a source for international food and great conversation.

click to enlarge MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Owner Kwacha House Cafe, 3450 Dutch Village Road

You'll be greeted by instant warm vibes upon entering the lime green building that holds Fairview's Kwacha House Cafe. That homelike quality has a lot to do with its decor—colourful walls, bright patterns, beaded curtains, cozy seating and African art—but its also a direct result of the cafe's owner, Folami Jones. She's a midwife who's spent time working with Immigration Settlement & Integration Services; the daughter of late, great Halifax activist Rocky Jones. It was her love for cooking and social spaces led her to open her own spot.

"I think it's really beautiful to see marginalized communities to do things, specifically there aren't many African Nova Scotians with restaurants, but also women," says Jones. "When I went to university and I'd go into cafes and I never saw myself. Very few minority people would patronize the spaces, and I didn't see them in staffing. I'd be studying or writing and looking around and thinking something's missing."

She officially opened Kwacha House this summer, taking the plunge after a seeing a For Rent sign in the window of 3450 Dutch Village Road. It's already grown into a meeting place and conversation incubator, serving up hot drinks, international meals and amazing desserts (try the cheesecake). Jones hosts weekend jams, community meetings, hangout sessions and, above all, creates a safe space for political dialogue.

"I've always enjoyed having difficult discussions and making these connections and I don't know there's something about food, life, laughter and free time. You put it all together and you have a place where people can work around their barriers, and cross boundaries they wouldn't normally cross," says Jones. "That's exactly what it has been since the day we've opened. We've had such diverse walks come through."

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