13 Jul 2013

Africafe (Good Food and Wine Show Part II)

En español  Em Português

At the Good Food and Wine Show last year, one of the most memorable stalls I went to was Africafe. An organisation which sells ethical tea and coffee where all the profits go towards buying mosquito nets and malaria treatment. I met the lady who started Africafe, Swati Somaina who grew up in Tanzania. 
Image by epSos.de

In 1981, Swati was diagnosed with malaria and was bedridden for 6 months with a horrible fever and never-ending headaches. Eventually, the best doctor in the town, Dr Ahmed saved her life by giving her a triple dose of quinine injection. It was a hard decision, as it can be lethal. She was very privileged by having him stand by her while she recovered. 

From this horrid experience, Swati decided to make a difference and started this project to stop malaria and save those who can't afford treatment. 
Mt Kilimanjaro
Image by Gary Craig

After months of requests, the founder of Africafe has finally accepted my invitation to this interview and I thank her very much. I asked her about her life and why she started this organisation.

"Were you born in Tanzania and if not why did you move there?

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya but we moved to Tanzania when I was 5 due to my Dad's work.

When you first diagnosed with malaria in 1981, what was the event that led to this disease?
World Malaria Day 2010
Image by US Army Africa

I had malaria in 1981. We had moved into a new home and as the house had been vacant for quite a few years, it had a lot of mosquitoes.

How did you feel about being diagnosed with malaria?

I was diagnosed with cerebral malaria which caused high fever and severe headaches. Due to these headaches, I had to tie tight belts around my head, but it only gave very little pain relief. I was unable to get out of bed for 6 months.

How would you describe Dr Ahmed's personality?

Dr. Ahmed was very caring and optimistic. As he lived in Tanzania, he had encountered many malaria cases, and so was very knowledgeable in the treatment of malaria. 

Do you currently live in Australia or Tanzania?

I currently live in Australia, however I travel to Tanzania every year for the distribution of nets. 

What is your most memorable memory?

My most memorable experience in Tanzania was when my father received a gold medal from Gulius K. Nyerere (the president of Tanzania at that time) for his humanitarian work for the people of Tanzania.

Have you had much success with your business?

We have had a lot of success with the business. Exhibiting at the Good Food and Wine show has given the mission a lot of exposure and we receive wonderful support from the community. 
Image by Jason Wesley Upton

Thank you once again for your support."

To read her full bibliography click here
To read more about malaria click here

You can either order Africafe's products online or at these stores:


Boronia    Mish Mash Café (228 Dorset Rd 3155)

                  Essential Health Foods (10/246 Dorset Rd 3155)

Knox City  Go Vita (Shop 1063, Know Shopping Centre, 425 Burwood Highway 3152)

Please support Africafe, it will only cost you the price of coffee (pun intended).

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