MM Stories

Raymond : The Art of Braai

The art of braai is one of the basic elements in nature. it can bring back memories, and deep connections, and it has the strength to distract from hostile situations, turning darkness into light.

The Afrikan word braai described by Raymond Amadhila:
“Braai means barbecue. It is celebration of friendship, harmony, joy and peace around a fire. There is nothing like a good barbecue with the right music and a group of friends to share it with, no matter where they are from or how deep their pockets are.”

Back in Nambia, Raymond had no electricity, he relied only on fire. The fire was a dear friend to Raymond and his family, as it regularly sat between them after a hard days work. The fire witnessed the storytelling, the laughter, songs and the smell of food – In return, it offered warmth and comfort.

Raymond arrived in the UK as a refugee in 2014 fuelled by his families teachings.

“The invaluable legacy my mum left me, is the will to learn every day. She’s a teacher and she gave me a solid education inspiring my love for books and hunger for knowledge. When you stop learning, you start dying and I am so in love with life!”

“It wasn’t easy in the beginning, when I first arrived in London. They sent me to Liverpool, then Bolton, but I just knew London was the place for me. I knew London could help me find and chase my dreams. I worked very hard and made all I could to return to London. Today I am still ready to sacrifice anything, time, comfort, resources, whatever it takes to make a dream come true.”

Barbecue was an easy choice for Raymond.

“I chose to barbecue because the fire brings me back home, to the coziness and safety of my family. Barbecue has a deep bond with South Africa strongly influencing Namibia until its independence in 1990. I embrace the culture of barbecue, and its meanings of sharing, coming together and uniting around food and stories.”

Raymond’s barbecued food is authentic and perfectly cooked. The fire really is his friend to his attitude and to his work.

Raymond applied to the TERN competition that MM launched in collaboration last summer. Raymond is one of the three winners, and he proudly showcases his incredible barbecued meat and South African recipes.

Raymond now runs his own food shack within the Mercato Metropolitano market sharing his positivity and love for life with all he meets.

“I consider myself an artist, but not in a pretentious way. It’s art by the dictionary definition; the making of objects, images, music or food that are beautiful and express feelings. I also sing and make my own music. I try to express myself through different skills and I always wish to make something significant, not necessarily beautiful for someone else.┬áLife for me is all about giving, and through my food, my music and my own attitude I would love people to join me and have a wonderful life.”

You can find Raymond’s shack ‘The South African Grill’ in our Elephant & Castle market in Warehouse 2. Mercato is extremely proud to partner with such a talented and positive human being like Raymond. If everyone had the attitude of Raymond Amadhila, we truly believe the world would be a happier place.

Join the MMovement

MM is inviting people, companies and policymakers across London, the UK and the world to join the movement to change food culture in the country. This is an open invitation for people who believe in:

Healthy, sustainable, living food made with rural, artisanal practices

Supply chains that prioritise quality over price and make good, healthy food available

The importance of community in cities across the world, starting with London