Migrant cooks serving up stories of home - Kim Chakanetsa meets two remarkable women who have used cooking to forge independent careers and to open up conversations about culture.
Asma Khan is an Indian-born British chef whose popular London restaurant, Darjeeling Express, is entirely staffed by women. Asma herself only learnt to cook after she married in her early 20s and moved to the UK with her husband. She later started a supper club in her home, behind her family’s back, to support migrant women living in her area. Asma features on the acclaimed Netflix series, Chef’s Table. Her signature dish is biryani.
Rose Dakuo came to the UK from Ivory Coast as a refugee aged 17. She later became homeless with four young children, after separating from her partner. But through that experience, Rose found her voice, and she has since dedicated her life to sharing West African food with others in her community, particularly those in need. She is now a regular chef at the ‘Welcome Kitchen,’ a collective of refugee chefs who cook at supper clubs and events across London. Rose specialises in food from across West Africa. Her favourite is Cheb Jen, a Senegalese rice dish.
Women using hip hop to change attitudes
What's life like for women in hip hop? Nelufar Hedayat brings together two outspoken female hip hop artists from Guatemala and Yemen, who aim to change attitudes with their songs.
Rebeca Lane is a feminist hip hop star in Central America. She embraced hip hop as a form of protest music, and raps about issues that affect women such as domestic violence and femicide. She co-founded Somos Guerreras, an all-female rap collective that tours Europe and the Americas and holds workshops for women. Although famous outside her country she keeps a lower profile when in Guatemala, as she says being an activist there can be dangerous.
Amani Yahya is a Yemeni musician who grew up in Saudi Arabia, returning to Yemen for high school. She became part of a thriving cultural scene there, performing her own brand of hip hop ballad to rapt audiences. However she also received threats from religious conservatives. When war broke out in 2014 she escaped back to Saudi Arabia only to face a backlash there too. Now based in the US, she is passionate about getting social messages across in her songs, including against child marriage.
Image: L: Rebeca Lane (credit Belen Marco) R: Amani Yahya (credit Fredrik Gille)
What does good care look like? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two women who have dedicated their lives to looking after and advocating for people with dementia in different parts of the world.
Morejoy Saineti is a specialist dementia care nurse originally from Zimbabwe, now living in London. She has won numerous awards for her work after she pioneered a community palliative care service for people with dementia in the UK. After her own mother developed the condition, Morejoy also founded Africa Dementia Service to raise awareness of dementia in southern Africa. She has also partnered with Alzheimer's Society UK to tackle stigma in Zimbabwe as part of their Global Dementia Friends Network.
Rabiab Nantarak works at a care facility in a village near Chiang Mai in Thailand, looking after western patients who have been diagnosed with dementia. Rabiab is a trained nursing assistant and has worked in this role for five years, having previously worked in the tourism industry. She believes that the most important skills for any caregiver are patience and the ability to give people space. The care home where Rabiab works is featured in a new documentary by Kristof Bilsen, Mother, which gives a moving portrait of the lives of the carers and their patients.
L: Rabiab Nantarak (credit: Rabiab Nantarak) R: Morejoy Saineti (credit: Morejoy Saineti)
Women writing relationships
Do you really know the person you're dating? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two acclaimed female authors whose stories shine a harsh light on the duplicity of romantic relationships.
Kristen Roupenian is the author of Cat Person, which became the first short story to ever go viral when it was published in the New Yorker in 2017. It's the tale of a young woman's brief relationship with an older man, and it sparked an online debate about consent, unwanted sex and honesty when dating. Cat Person is included in Kristen's book of short stories, You Know You Want This.
Oyinkan Braithwaite is the writer of the novel My Sister, The Serial Killer. It's the story of two Nigerian sisters, one of whose boyfriends somehow keep ending up dead. Oyinkan says the murderous and stunning Ayoola has become an unlikely heroine for some readers, and that she is very interested in exploring the superficial nature of romantic liaisons, which lead to women's physical beauty often being their most powerful asset.
L: Kristen Roupenian (credit Elisa Roupenian Toha)
R: Oyinkan Braithwaite (credit Amaal Said)
World-class sportswomen combining motherhood with incredible athletic achievement. Kim Chakanetsa asks how they do it, what support they have behind the scenes, and what it means to them to be both a mother and a top athlete.
Jasmin Paris is a record-breaking British ultrarunner and the first woman to win the infamous Spine Race, a winter marathon along the UK's Pennine Way which is widely regarded as one of the world's toughest endurance races. At the time Jasmin was still breastfeeding her baby daughter, and she had to express milk along the way. And that's not the only demand on her time - she also works full-time as a vet at the University of Edinburgh.
Nicola Spirig is a 37-year-old professional Swiss triathlete, who gave birth to her third child in April this year, and was back competing just a few weeks later. Nicola won the gold medal in triathlon at the London 2012 Olympics, and came back after having her first child to win silver in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Now she's aiming for Tokyo 2020. She says she couldn't do it without the support of her husband, who does the bulk of the childcare.
l: Nicola Spirig (Credit Swiss Triathlon)
r: Jasmin Paris (Credit Yann Besrest-Butler / Montane Spine Race)