Meet The Young Ghanaian Male Chef, Promoting Black Food & Changing The Culture Around Men And Cooking

As a 13 year old boy in Ghana, he began to learn how to cook for a family of 5.
His father’s wife would call him to the kitchen to cut the onions. Grind the tomatoes. Mix the ingredients. Over 14 years later, Lwanga Songsore is still spicing, stirring, and sautéing—he’s developed a local reputation for creative and
delicious takes on indigenous Ghanaian recipes, and is changing the narrative around men and cooking in Africa.

“I remember stirring banku (corn dough and cassava flour) until it solidified. It was one of the most frequent tasks that I did in beginning my apprenticeship as a cook,” Songsore, 27, said. “Many of the dishes that I learned how to cook were
dishes that the family liked to eat at the time. Banku. Various green, leafy soups like yogevaare (pumpkin soup), kponkpon vaare (cassava leaf soup), sao (tuo zaafi), which are meals that are indigenous to the Daagaba.” Songsore is apart of the Daagabe ethnic group, which are found in the Upper West region of Ghana. Since then, Songsore has expanded on his hometown menu, and prepares a variety of savory and spiced soups, stews, and medleys, and enjoys eating communally, or giving plates to neighbors and elders in his local community on a weekly basis. In an upcoming presentation entitled: “Agya, Can I Have More? An Everyday Guide To The Joys Of Cooking and Eating Like An African” hosted by the Black-owned social media site,, Songsore plans to share his cooking tips and insights on how Black people can reflect our culture in the kitchen.

“I want to reinvigorate people to glorify Black food for Black power. For Black people to eat healthy so that we may survive and launch campaigns on the other facets of life that we need to reclaim for our liberation. Once you’re unhealthy or once you haven’t eaten, you cannot even think. To get inspired to industrialize, to invent things to support Black people and make the lives of Black people better—food is central,” Songsore said. He serves his meals in hand-crafted, smooth brown and ebony clay pots, bowls, and cups, honoring the ancient African art of pottery. For the cultured chef, every stage of food—from cooking to serving—is an intentional act. “I want to inspire people to consider, where is this food coming from, and who grew the food?

What recipe is this, and where is the recipe coming from? What pots am I using, and where are they coming from? Who made them? What am I using to eat?” Over the years, as he grew from a young town boy to a current PHD student in
African Studies at the University of Ghana, he’s kept the stove fire burning in between his studies. He’s mastered a buffet of Ghanaian recipes from jollof, the popular West African tomato-and-pepper stewed rice dish, to koose and moringa,
his own sizzled style of the original fried bean fritter. As a young man in the kitchen, he encourages other Black men to also try to improve their cooking skills.

“It’s things that men may be missing out on by not being in the kitchen. Cooking helps us to understand patience and process, doing things step by step. Cooking teaches you respect. Respect for life. Respect for women, who control the
kitchen, and when you understand these things, you understand that women should not be taken for granted. Food should not be taken for granted,” Songsore said. In spite of the popular culture of fast and foreign food, Songsore has focused on promoting the delicious beauty of Black/African food. “Food is not an insignificant part of our struggle for liberation. People invest a lot of money on food. Cooking and eating without any intention is to be irresponsible. Just like the Muslim who fasts in the month of Ramadan because they are Muslim, or the Christian who drinks the blood of Jesus because they are devoted to Christ, I only eat Black dishes because I am a Black man devoted to Black Liberation,” Songsore said.

Through a in-depth presentation on the connection between food and power, and how to Africanize our kitchen, his hope is to bring back our taste for our homeland dishes. “I want to give people a grounding. Isn’t it just beautiful to know
that you’re cooking food that your ancestors used to eat several hundreds, or even thousands of years ago? Isn’t it simply beautiful?”

To register for his presentation “Agya, Can I Have More? An Everyday
Guide To The Joys Of Cooking and Eating Like An African” on Abibitumi,
click here:

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