The owner of the recently opened Abantu African Consignment Outlet store seeks to share the rich and colorful culture of Africa including art, clothing, jewelry, foods and special events with the entire community.
Dunstan Kalumba, 51, of Zambia, opened Abantu African Consignment Outlet at 3131 SW College Road, Suite 406, in November. It’s across from the Paddock Mall.
Abantu means “people.”
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The store has a wide selection of clothing hand crafted in Africa, from shirts to African preacher gowns, which Kalumba explained were seen in the movie “Black Panther.”
There are sandals, T-shirts and numerous other wearables imported from Africa. Additional imported items on hand include masks, wildlife statuettes, a collectible Zulu sword and fabric wall murals known as “runners,” with ornate scenes of giraffes, zebras and more.
Kalumba makes and sews some of the store’s kufi hats himself.
Kalumba said the focus of the store is bringing the rich experience of African culture to the people of the area and African Americans born here. He is offering events to raise multicultural awareness.
The community reaction so far
“Fabulous. This is so unique,” said Sonia Williams of Ocala, who visited the store on a recent day. She was especially interested in the clothing on display.
Henry DeGeneste is on the board of directors of the Bridges Project of Marion County, a nonprofit that seeks to improve understanding and race relationships in the county.
DeGeneste, an Ocala resident since 2006, served as the superintendent of police and director of public safety for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey from 1982 through 1990 and “had the pleasure” of escorting Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa, on a tour of New York with other dignitaries during Mandela’s first visit to the U.S.
A few years later DeGeneste was invited to visit Mandela in Johannesburg.
“Sharing of cultures is absolutely a great idea. Our entire community should be exposed to the variety of customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of other people and nations, that make up…our diverse society,” DeGeneste wrote in an email when asked about the new Ocala store.
The genesis of the store
Kalumba moved to the U.S. 21 years ago. He first settled in Connecticut, where he lived for two years, then came to Central Florida. His career includes working with disabled persons. He also is a minister.
Kalumba said the store operation supports the “Restoration Of Priesthood Kids” program, in Lusaka, Zambia, which provides Sunday services, food and school fees and uniforms for youths.
“I go once a year but we send support for meals every month,” Kalumba stated in a text about the Lusaka outreach.
Kalumba‘s wife, Ruth, sees the store as a “cultural center” that can provide knowledge of culture and understanding of history for everyone.
Kalumba already has hosted an “African art night” and an “African Cuisine and Culture Night” featuring Zambian culture, food, dance and music at the store, according to the business website https://abantuafricanconsignments.com/
Kalumba said he will host “Black History Kizomba and Kompa Culture” on Feb. 11 at the store starting at 7 p.m. Entry is free. The event will feature dance and food for sale by Abantu catering.
The store is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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