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Chef Zweli Williams Wants People to Understand African Food                                  

Despite a turbulent youth during Zimbabwe’s civil war, Durham-based chef Zweli Williams has fond memories of home, which she channels through her cooking at Ekhaya. Emigrating to the U.S., she had to overcome her initial shyness of displaying her culture and is now an avid ambassador of it. Committed to the bold flavors, spices and flair of her native cuisine, she has created a restaurant that aims to teach local diners about the wonders of African cooking. Ekhaya means “at home” in Bantu and is the epitome of Williams’ journey. Inside Ekhaya are sleek black tables and chairs with African gourds decorating the walls like art installations; straw mats that cover the bar; fabric from Zimbabwe converted into striking cushions; and metal plates in creamy, pastel-colored hues that pop against the wood.