Happiness is friends, fundraising and fun at the TAWA Chillout


You must be living under a rock if, by now, you do not know that I loves me some TAWA Chillout. Who in their right minds would pass up the opportunity to watch grown folk have fun?? These young’ins think they invented boisterous behaviour. If only they knew! It was at a TAWA Chillout that I once saw a 50-year-old man being placed on the naughty step!

So, let me settle down and tell you exactly what a TAWA Chillout is and what goes on there. Every couple of months, the tireless Ayo Sonoiki hosts an evening that gathers together the hardworking folk in London and gives them the opportunity to let their hair down on a Sunday evening. It sounds so simple and yet, it is genius.

A game of charades, a punt at the karaoke, or a fun fight over raffle ticket corruption might not seem like much, but the fact that the Chillout events are sold out every single time is a testament to how much these events are needed.

What is even more magical is the fact that guests love to spread the word. The very first event, we went to support our friend, Ms Sonoiki. Now, at every event, there is a newbie who says their cousin, friend or brother’s neighbour’s dog told them about all the fun we have. The newcomers immediately feel welcome, and this is evidenced by how quickly they loosen up. There are no strangers at TAWA; only friends meeting for the first time.

Domestic Violence UK – The Truth Corner

Ms Sonoiki is passionate about her chosen charity: Domestic Violence UK. While the night’s shenanigans is always centred around fun and relaxation, there is always a section of the evening set aside for a brief message about the fantastic work this charity does.

This event was a tad different though. We had an attendee couple speak to us about their experience with domestic violence and how they dealt with it.

The wife talked about the importance of counselling and accepting the problems in one’s home. She talked about taking a problem to the right professional. Why go to a pastor when a counsellor is trained in helping settle differences? Together, they showed us the result of all that hard work – a union stronger and more loving because they recognised the pitfalls and fixed it.

If you saw this couple today, marriage go hungry you. She positively glows; the life and soul of any gathering. He always seems quietly pleased and content. This couple gave us all relationship goals on Sunday evening. Indeed, my respect for him increased exponentially.

For this reason alone, this was my very best TAWA Chillout ever.

The Naija Corner At The TAWA Chillout

You know you’re on to a winning number when even visitors from Nigeria buy a ticket to come see what the noise is all about! The Chillout was graced with a few notable out-of-towners this year and they had mad fun too.

Legendary DJ Jimmy Jatt was Live In London and could be seen smiling throughout. He howled along with us to the karaoke; and desperately wanted to take part in the music-related events but you how how it is, we had to ban him for unfair advantage. The man is a walking music encyclopaedia!

TAWA Telemundo – Take Two

At the last TAWA Chillout, something that started as a karaoke number ended up rendition of Guys n’ Dolls! If you have no idea what I’m on about, do click here but I can give you the lowdown right here. A lady got up to give her performance of Karyn White’s Superwoman. Getting into the spirit, she focused her attention on a gentleman just minding his business in the front row. She made him the object of her song and was soon joined by the other women in the room. The poor fellow had to rely on the rest of the men to save him!

It was fun and games until she realised to her horror that she had in fact picked on a man who was just recovering from heart surgery! Indeed, Mr Kunle Kaffo had used the Chillout as an opportunity to tentatively step back out in public.

He took it in good spirit though; and to prove there were no hard feelings, he re-enacted a duet with the lovely lady. This time, the less accusatory and more dulcet “Endless Love”.

I can only assume that by the next TAWA Chillout, they will be singing “Half On A Baby” by R. Kelly.

Ridiculous Raffle Racketeering

Every Chillout, we sell raffle tickets and give away amazing prizes generously donated by TAWA friends. Some people (cough *Omosholabomi Oshiyemi*) have been known to forcibly change raffle numbers in order to win gifts. Sixes have been turned to nines as people scrabbled to secure presents. And who could blame them? Jules Odushile of House of Hampers makes gift sets beautiful enough to eat, basket and all. Afro-centric clothes by Princess Folaji Fasanya-Omoyeni are coveted by all and sundry. Signed copies of books, jewellery and even a plane ticket are all items that have been snatched up at the event.

But this time, some people put their jazz men to work over time. There were people who won multiple gifts (cough *Omosholabomi Oshiyemi* cough) and swore that it was legit. And let’s not forget someone (cough *Ms Toyin Ikotun* cough) who only saves her jazz for the biggest hamper. Each and every time!

Knowing the sort of child of God that I am, I personally would never mention any names, but I really must get this cough seen to…

The winners won, the cheats cried, and then the serious business of dancing and commenced. Laredo did what Laredo does best and fed us till we were fed up. I may or may not have begged for some of the special suya pepper to take home with me. I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations at this time but I will say: we had a blast!

TAWA Chillout – The Christmas Edition!

The next TAWA event will be the Christmas edition so it promises to be bigger, better and bolder than normal. Lord alone knows what that means for my people! But seriously, you don’t wanna miss this as it will sell out and QUICK. If you would like to put your hat in the ring, please email Ayo Sonoiki here >>

You’ll be glad you did!

All pictures courtesy SenPix

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