‘Out of Africa Trading Stall’ comes to Norwich Market
A Norwich tradesman who feared he may never work again is bringing African culture to life at Norwich's market.
Paul Smith, from Mulbarton, is using his experience of living in South Africa to bring his Out of Africa Trading Stall to the market after a neck injury could have left him paralysed.
Mr Smith said: 'In February I had two discs pop out and press into my spinal cord causing severe pain and loss of mobility.
'I could not work or drive or even go on a bus for months. I could have become paralysed at any time.'
This happened to Mr Smith previously 13 years ago. He was paralysed from the neck down and had an emergency operation to regain 100 per cent use of his body.
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Terrified that the paralysis could return and knowing he could not continue with his previous job as a drayman lifting up to 15 tonnes of beer a day, he said: 'Because I lived in South Africa for 26 years and I met my wife there, who is South African, I developed such a love for the unique tastes and cultures of South Africa and Africa.'
Mr Smith said there is nothing like this in Norwich and decided he would stock what he describes as 'all the favourite' South African delicacies and traditional foods, such as Biltong, Boerwors, Chakalaka, Sousboonjies.
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He also stocks African Art and curios, handmade African Jewellery using semi-precious African stones, African dresses and rugby shirts. There are also almost 100 unique soapstone carvings from Kenya, antique Tribal Masks from the Congo and wooden carvings.
Although he has a large clientele of ex-pat Namibian, Botswanans and Kenyans and also of South Africans and Zimbabweans he also has a growing British clientele.
He said: 'They are loving the products as well.
'It's been said by quite a few customers that it's like an Aladdin's cave, and that touches my heart when people say that.
'You can overcome obstacles in your life and I can look forward to the rest of my life with this stall.'
Mr Smith invites people to come and visit the stall to try out samples of the food.
He said: 'The stall is at the back of the market, where there is loads of space and the sun is out. It's the place to be.'
Do you have a story about overcoming adversity? Call Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 772438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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