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Zambesi Bazaar features African themed art, jewelry, calendars, literature and clothing among many other merchandise. photo by Brian W. Carter
The African themed shop is a Mecca for all things that are African and of Black culture.
Nestled within Leimert Park, is Zambezi Bazaar, a family operated shop that sells African themed merchandise. Jackie, Mary and Alden Kimbrough own the 20-year old store and pride themselves on being advocates of African and Black American culture.
The siblings grew up around an atmosphere that inspired an awareness of their African roots, history and culture. Their parents, Dr. Jack and Quincella Kimbrough, were very involved in the community and forerunners in establishing businesses and society groups both here in Los Angeles and in San Diego. The Black pride instilled by their parents left an indelible imprint upon each of them.
“We came from a family that collected African-American history,” said Jackie. “We collected photographs, books, art—we collected things African-American.”
That is definitely something that is evident within the store itself. Zambezi is an African and Black American shoppers dream. From the first floor to the bottom, just about everything you could think of is at Zambezi.
“Our father collected African-American art early on in the 1950’s [as well as] literature,” said Jackie. “So we were always around it, we grew up with it.”
As Historic Black College/University (HBCU) graduates, the siblings became, like their parents, very active within the community. They were apart of the Black Arts Movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s with the likes of Aurelia Brooks, Cecil Fergerson and Claude Booker to name a few.
“As we became adults, we also started collecting African-American artifacts ourselves,” said Jackie. “We decided to have a store that reflected African-American culture and all of its elements.”
When it comes to Zambezi Bazaar, their love of African and Black culture can be seen and purchased. Alden took a particular interest in archiving articles, books and literature on African Americans; Mary specializes in African jewelry and Jackie in African clothing and merchandise.
“In childhood, I always had a fascination with jewelry,” said Mary. “My mother said I used to put safety pins together and put them around my neck.”
Mary’s love of jewelry took her to exotic locales such as India, Asia and of course, Africa. Now she lends her expertise in African jewelry in her shop.
“Black people have a certain rhythm and syncopation about themselves translated through our history,” said Jackie. “So we like certain colors, products, we like [things] that reflect our image in a dignified way. “
You can find clothing, jewelry, calendars, paper doll books, incense, scarves and tons of other merchandise—all with an African and Black flavor.
“We’ve been here as a cultural and commercial entity for 20 years,” said Jackie. “I would like to thank the [community]…they taught us how to be a store and we’re here for [you].”
Zambezi Bazaar is located at 4334 Degnan Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA in Leimert Park. You can contact them at (323) 299-6383.
(From Left to Right): Zambezi Bazaaar owners, Jackie Kimrough Ryan and Mary Kimbrough (Alden Kimbrough not pictured) photo by Brian W. Carter