It would seem that the reputation of us TAWA Faithfuls precedes us. The first thing worthy of note with this TAWA Chillout was that the management of Walay’s insisted on ID. They claim it was for our safety, but somehow I think it’s to do with the fact that they had heard about our raucous behaviour at other events and couldn’t quite believe there was anyone amongst us over the age of 18! Well, we hate to disappoint, so in true TAWA style, we brought the party to Leytonstone on the 11th December!
Before we hit the venue, we’d heard whiff of the fact that one of the raffle prizes was a return flight to Nigeria. On Virgin Atlantic, no less! The air of luck tinged with frenzied excitement permeated the whole event last Sunday.
Ayo Sonoiki: The Calm In The Eye of the Storm
The visionary, organiser, bell ringer and writer of names of noisemaker at the helm of TAWA Chillout is Ms Ayo Sonoiki. The event has always been driven by her desire to get grown folk together, to socialise and let their hair down, while raising money for domestic violence awareness. Oh, and to keep the event as Afrocentric as possible, supporting small businesses built and run by Nigerians and Africans in general.
As desires go, this is no mean feat. We all know that living, working and earning in the UK no be yam. It is quite a feat to get people to relax. But the TAWA Chillout has managed to do that; growing in strength and popularity with every outing. So it made sense that this festive edition would be climactic.
We are normally a lively bunch; we regress in age, we scream, shout, and some people cough Sholaaaaaaa! even cheat at the games. DJ Abass tries to keep the peace but what really can be done when grown folk confer even when you tell them not to?
But Sunday night was on another level of agbaya behaviour. We bellowed out the answers to the games; karaoke songs became more like choir sing-alongs; emotional solos became group efforts. But gosh, did we have fun!!
I know we had fun because pretty soon, I was certain I was undergoing the first stages of early onset menopause. The room was sweltering and we were evaporating. But we just kept right on partying.
But Now…The Raffle!
But throughout the night, there was this air of expectation…there was a return ticket out there with someone’s name on it, and we wanted to know who!
The smaller gifts were raffled first. There is something about anticipation that makes everything seem so drawn out. Some people won candles and I saw them and thought “Wow, these look so pretty!” but on the other hand, I thought: wait, was one of the main benefactors of the TAWA Chillout a Cherubim and Seraphim Movement warlord? Why so many candles? Where is this return ticket?? I need some sun!
The big moment came, the winner was announced. All I can tell you about the winner is that it wasn’t me. I know it wasn’t me because I am still sitting here in a fleece cardie instead of eating ewa Aganyin and Agege bread.
By the way, I also know it wasn’t Omosholabomi, but I am not sure that she got that memo. She snatched the ticket and ran out of the hall. I wonder if they ever did catch her…
TAWA fugitives notwithstanding, the energy raised a record £948.20 on the night for the event’s charity: Domestic Violence UK. Every TAWA Chillout feels so much better knowing that we are making a difference; we are effecting change; people’s lives are a little bit better because we came, we gave, we made the effort.
And so, we did what we really came to do: mingle, dance, chill out as the name implies. Laredo’s Suya & Grill made it do what it do: I really must commend their staff on successfully feeding the 5,000 – even though they had slightly more than two fish and five loaves of bread. We were a baying pack of hungry TAWA-ites, and Laredo shook us down nicely!
DJ Abass never disappoints! The music was top notch, and brought people to their feet time and again. Added to the musical games and the camaraderie, he made the night happen.
I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit this year. There isn’t a single bauble in my house, the only carols I’ve heard have been while walking through grocery shops. In fact, it’s like Mary never even carry belle for my side. But TAWA Chillout truly heralded the start of the festive season.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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