• Joey Cameron

by Mindy Yang

WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a co-producer, importer and wholesale supplier of Fairtrade, gourmet, African food products and wine.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Brooklyn, New York

IF YOU WERE TO HAVE A BOOK ABOUT YOU, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
‘The Soundtrack To My Life’ or ‘Word Salad’

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS?
Growing up in the social and culinary landscape that is Cape Town, South Africa, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, at wine farms or behind the ‘Braai’ (Afrikaans for BBQ). My passion for writing, career in the advertising industry and great love for food, African culture and African people, eventually led me to meet my business partner, Nigel Wood. I was intrigued and inspired by his story. In the early 90’s, chef Nigel had travelled through Africa, collecting recipes, recording each experience in a journal (entitled Recipes From A Rucksack) with the intention of opening a restaurant. Upon his arrival in Cape Town however, the local situation played his heartstrings like a violin, so much so that that he started Ukuva iAfrica. Literally meaning, "the senses of Africa" in Xhosa (one of the 11 official languages of South Africa), the company was initially an employment project for refugees and underprivileged citizens in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. Since then we have evolved into an international supplier of award winning, gourmet African hot sauces, spice blends, chili salts and now, Fair Trade wine. The Ukuva iAfrica Brand via Turqle Trading South Africa is also an active member of the WORLD FAIR TRADE ORGANISATION and certified by FAIRTRADE INTERNATIONAL (FLO) as a licensee, trader, importer, manufacturer and processor of FLO certified products. 2.5% of every product we sell goes towards the FAIR TRADE TRUST, which was set up to pay for the education of our workers and their children’s school fees. In addition, we also contribute annually to The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre and the Cape Mental Health Society.

BEST SCENT MEMORY
My best scent memory would have to be the smell of eucalyptus leaves. They littered the closet where all the Xmas decorations were kept in my house as a child. I have always associated that smell with the holidays and happiness.

FAVORITE FOOD OR FAVORITE SPICE(S)
I’d have to say out of all spices, it would have to be Cinnamon. Hands down.

FAVORITE TIME OF DAY?
Dusk would be the best time. A tornado of color torments the landscape giving way to the mystery of the night that lies ahead.

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FAVORITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION?
Tofo, Mozambique.

SHARE A CHILDHOOD MEMORY WITH US?               
My sister and I had a thing for wizards and witches at some point. We were convinced that we too could create potions. Our quest lasted for weeks as we toiled and troubled through all of the sauces, spices and chemicals in the house. Eventually, after several vinegar and hot sauce based explosions, we gave up.

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Never sleep with anger in your heart.

FAVORITE COLOR?
Mint green. For now.

FAVORITE SONG?
‘The soundtrack to my life’, Kid Cudi.


FAVORITE FLOWER + WHY?
Jasmine. The smell calms me.

WHAT/WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Positivity in the face of adversity inspires and humbles me. To see true happiness that is removed from anything associated with money.

IF A DEAR FRIEND FROM AFAR WERE COMING TO STAY WITH YOU FOR A WEEKEND, WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE HIM/HER? 
I would probably take them for a drink at Achilles Heel, a small cocktail bar in Greenpoint with a wood burning fireplace. We could conspire what’s next over a few glasses of wine and a cheeseboard.

WHERE SHOULD VISITORS FROM THEARTOFLIVING.EARTH STAY?
Williamsburg or Greenpoint

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?
In winter, catch me cooking, hanging out with friends and drinking wine. Muay-Thai, strength training and nutrition are also big passions of mine, so in summer you can find me on a rooftop or learning something new, either physical or mental.

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ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Drop me an email at joey@ukuvaiafricausa.com and let’s hang. I find getting to know people in person is so much more rewarding.  

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Mindy Yang
Mindy Yang

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