A Taste Of Africa

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A Taste Of Africa

An interview with Prince Ogbuji

If you're from the Bournemouth area and love African food then you need to pay a visit to Nativ cuisine on Old Christchurch Road!

Personally, we love Nativ cuisine and especially their lunchtime buffet. It's a massive plate of marinated chicken, rice, coleslaw, salad, beans and your choice of sauces ranging from mild to hot, hot, hot! At only £5 and we've always left licking our lips and with our bellies satisfied! Nativ also have an extensive menu of African specialties such as jambo curry, ayamase stew and African jerk chicken you can enjoy any time of the day!

We met up with Prince; BAPTA award winning founder, manager and head chef at Nativ to learn more about his journey, the restaurant itself and where he sees Nativ going in the future.

Here's what he said...

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Prince Ogbuji

With his wife Nneka Dorothy Ogbuji

Founders of Nativ Cuisine

Why did you first come to Bournemouth?

'I am Originally from Aba, Abia state in Nigeria. I came to Bournemouth over 14 years ago to work from London and fell in love with the town. My wife and I decided we would stay and raise our family here and we're really happy we made that decision.'

How did you start Nativ and what is the restaurant all about?

'The idea of opening an African restaurant has always been on my mind from when I was a teenager, I've always been business minded and knew I would have my own business and when I came to the UK I saw the need to do something about the image of Africa in the media and on the street.

Opening an African restaurant to me isn’t just about selling food, we are also selling the culture, beauty and the lifestyle of Africans. If you come into the restaurant every image and sculpture on the wall is carefully crafted to drive a message. For example the very first thing you will notice on arrival is the photo of a Maasai woman and just beside her is an authentic Maasai warrior’s arrow from the their tribe in central Africa. In the right hand side in the wall is Authentic Kudu horn, an animal predominantly found in Southern Africa. Over the head walking across the passage way through the kitchen is an genuine mask from the ancient Benin kingdom in Nigeria. The list goes on.'

You mentioned seeing the need to do something about the image of Africa in the media and the street, what do you mean by that?

'I believe the image of Africa is portrayed very negatively. That could be for different reasons, but it is my belief that it is only Africans who can tell their story best for the world to hear. Nativ is a vehicle for me to transport this story to the world. 

The problem with the image of Africa in this part of the globe is that Africa has been portrayed to be a place of poverty, disease and crime. It is almost as though all Africans (especially Nigerians) are criminals. I was born in Nigeria, I also grew up in Nigeria until my early 30s so I would say I lived a very good part of my life in Africa and although you can’t deny there is poverty in the society, not everyone is poor. I didn’t experience poverty in any form growing up. In addition, at the school, work and in society I met men and women of high level integrity who had very good moral values.

So Nativ is my own way of moulding the Africa I grew up in as a model, but am using food as my clay and sand in the process.'

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BAPTA Rising Star

Prince won the BAPTA Rising Star award ahead of stiff competition from established businesses such as Cosy Club, 1812, Be At One and the Oceana Hotel.

Your work has been recognised in the community and you recently won the Bournemouth And Poole Tourism (BAPTA) Rising Star award!

What do you do differently that makes you stand out from the crowd and where do you plan to go from here?

'We are super passionate about what we do and I appreciate other people might be too, but truth is we are very genuine and real with ours. My wife and I run the business together and we put our soul and body into everything that has to do with the restaurant. For us what you see is what you get. We don’t pretend to know it all because we actually don’t, but we insist on going the extra mile to make our customers happy and ensure that we put a smile on someone’s face.

We are very community minded which means we embrace the idea of cohabiting with the people around us. This is also a part of the African culture we are showcasing, because in Africa it is generally said that it takes a man and a woman to bring a child into the world, but it takes the community to raise that child. Our community engagement is a key factor in our business model. 

Our next step now is to solidify our brand nationally. We have a few plans on the pipe line for our customers hopefully before the end of summer. The BAPTA award has been a great encouragement, it has also given some great amount of media attention and exposure for the restaurant.'

How does it feel to be a key representative of the African community in Bournemouth?

'It’s a great honour for me to hear that I'm a key African representative in the area. I haven’t really seen myself that way. It is indeed a great honour if I am seen as one of Africa’s representatives in Bournemouth. I also feel a great sense of responsibility because as we know, to who much is given, much is also expected. I feel the bar has been raised, therefore God willing we will keep achieving great heights in our endeavours.'

Thank's Prince, good luck for the future and we'll see you again soon!


You can find Nativ on 276 Old Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, BH1 1PH (opposite O'Neill's).

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