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Durham Welcomes Rofhiwa Book Café

A new bookstore / coffeeshop plans to soon open its doors in the Triangle: Rofhiwa Book Café, a Black-owned business positioned in Old East Durham.

According to a recent write-up in INDY Week, the store, founded by Bev Tumi Makhubele and Naledi Yaziyo, plans to:

…carry a carefully curated selection of adult and children’s books by Black authors and serve coffee from Black roasters. The vision, they say, is of a vibrant space that fosters conversation and community.

More than a bookstore, though, and beyond being just an excellent place to pick up a cup of joe, Rofhiwa hopes to be central for the people in the community who have been waiting for just this kind of thing.

“I like to imagine that on a Saturday morning, when a family is deciding what to do with the day, Rofhiwa might be part of their plans,” Yaziyo says.

In other words, a place to feel welcome; a space to spend a relaxed Saturday morning with your family.

Yaziyo is a Ph.D student in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. In her first blog post for the store, she writes about how her mother initiated her into the community of Black writers outside of South Africa.

“Is there an essence to our Blackness?” she asks. “How do we understand the things that seem to be the same everywhere where Black people have lived? Rofhiwa enters into this long and ongoing conversation with the suggestion that at least some parts of the answers to these big questions can be found in the stories and narratives that Black minds have conjured. Let us read and read deeply to see if we might not glean something of the source of the particular magic that makes us in the magical works made by us.”

The store’s Facebook page alone is a crash-course on the contributions of prescient Black authors, from Zore Neal Hurston to Black noir writers to Octavia E. Butler. Pick a post, any post, from the past two weeks, and you’ll have plenty to read, from hard-to-complete collections to obscure, overlooked works to Black chick lit.

The store is also on Instagram (@rofhiwabooks). Visit them on the web, https://rofhiwabooks.com.

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