When the TAWA Chillout took Tereza Joanne on her virgin voyage!


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, today’s lesson is titled: despise ye not the days of humble beginnings! Many of you might not be aware that the TAWA Chillout started in a little bar that could barely accommodate the fifty or so people who turned up. We came mostly out of curiosity (“Yeah, but what exactly will we be doing?!”) and love for Ayo Sonoiki. If she put it together, then we would support her. After all, she has never knowingly undersold.

What we discovered was a safe haven for adults; a place to let our hair down and escape from the wahala of modern life for a few hours.

It is no surprise therefore, that something that started as a gathering of friends has become a must-attend London event.

The tickets for this Summer TAWA Chillout on the Tereza  Joanne moored boat sold an outstanding 83% within the first twenty-four hours of going on sale. Proof positive that grown folk crave a safe haven for fun and frolicking.

The long-anticipated day arrived and guests arrived in droves. The weather didn’t put anyone off, firstly because this is London and we do what we need to, regardless of the grey skies, and secondly, because nothing could dampen our spirits. This. Is. TAWA! Where old friends reunite, new friends are made, and the karaoke is always on fleek!

As usual, we started with the reason for the season: Domestic Violence UK. There is nothing more life-affirming than knowing that every single time we meet like this, we do some good. A few hundred pounds truly might not change the world, but it might mean the whole world to someone fleeing from domestic violence or trying to assert their independence for the first time. So we continue to buy the raffle tickets and donate the toiletries because, as Tesco reminds us, Every Little Helps.

We raised an unprecedented £736 for Domestic Violence UK at this summer edition of the TAWA Chillout (bringing the total amount raised by the the TAWA Chillout events to £4533), and the toiletries donated will go a long way in ensuring dignity for those who need it the most.

But onwards, my co-sailors! It is time for shindigs and shenanigans! And on this outing, TAWA took the Tereza Joanne to the seven seas in search of guests as we had TAWA virgins from as far afield as Canada, Beijing, Nigeria and Australia. But, as always, Ayo’s exemplary hosting skills meant that the atmosphere was that of old friends meeting again.

There were three birthdays celebrated at the TAWA Chillout! All three celebrants came to share their day with us, and this involved lots of yummy cake – you’d never seen so much cake in your life! I may or may not have had some of the Ferrero Rocher cake for breakfast the next morning, it was lush!

And speaking of all things edible, Laredo outdid himself this time as his suya added spice to an already buoyant evening, and the grilled fish was everything fish should be: crispy skin on the outside, moist on the inside. Sublime.

Jimi D Baldheaded Guy came to turn the decks and he did not let us down! He blended perfectly with the madding crowd as his deft fingers spun hit after hit and kept us on our toes long after we should have been too exhausted to move another step.

The next TAWA is on the 1st of October which also happens to be our affable host’s birthday as well as Nigeria’s Independence Day.The TAWA Chillout gets bigger and better with every edition and we’re running out of venues that can contain our awesomeness. Where next, I wonder? Wembley Arena, are you ready??

Photography credit: Tayo Kush Photography.


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