Soursop fruit is supreme

It’s not one of my staple fruits yet, but I’ve been hearing about the amazing benefits of soursop for a while. It’s also been doing the rounds on Instagram.

It wasn’t until a family friend was diagnosed with cancer, and a couple of years later my mother with the same disease that I started looking into this strange looking fruit.

Growing in tropical regions across Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia, the active ingredient annonaceous acetogenins, is said to hold all the power. Soursop’s highest claim to fame is that it cures cancer. Currently there is no medical/scientific evidence to prove this; and all claims are anecdotal.

According to Cancer Research UK, lab test have shown extracts of soursop killing certain types of breast and liver cancer cells. Tests have not been done in humans, so the charity does not endorse soursop as a treatment for cancer.

Now the soursop power is in my hands! @ads_diaspora Instagram

I thank God that my mother’s cancer was detected early and removed. Our family friend, who has an advanced stage of cancer, was told by doctors he wouldn’t see 2015, but is still alive today. He drinks the dried, powdered leaves of the soursop fruit sent from Ghana. He hasn’t been ‘cured’ of the cancer, but he’s still here and strong enough to stand unaided for at least an hour which wasn’t possible during his latter courses of chemotherapy.

Hamamat’s video made me want to try soursop even more!

It’s not easy to find soursop in the UK and when you do it’s very expensive. It’s ironic because in Ghana, I’ve been told it’s not a fruit that’s revered much. Probably because in the tropics there are so many amazing fruits, soursop is just one of the bunch?

In tropical countries, the leaves of certain fruit and veg are used as food themselves or to preserve / aid in the cooking process. In addition to the anecdotal claims of fighting cancer, there are claims of various benefits of soursop leaves when eaten regularly, including fighting against arthritis, diabetes and gout, to name a few. When applied topically, it’s said to clear eczema, boils and blackheads.

I believe there are natural remedies which can help fight or even cure diseases and will start incorporating soursop into my diet from now on.

If you’ve tried it let me know what you think by commenting below.

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Pot & Platter is the food section of this blog –> A curation of what’s cooking in the African-Caribbean food scene: Cooked up in my blog pot and served on a platter.

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Fashion and race: The forced marriage

Fashion isn’t just about clothes and models; it’s supposed to be but it isn’t. There’s been a lot of talk about racism in the fashion industry, from those within and those outside the industry. Racism is a problem in many industries, fashion isn’t unique here. No matter how creative/chic/stylish the clothes are on runways in the West, the lack of ethnic diversity is always on show – race and fashion now come hand in hand.

The fashion industry has been a certain way for a long time and change is difficult to embrace. It’s not just about having more ethnic models on the runway, but ethnic people in positions of power and influence behind the scenes of the industry, whether that be designers or casting agents etc. Fashion designers get inspiration from various cultures, but generally display their creations on a white canvas. This has been done for years, but now with everything else that’s going on, it seems we’re grappling with race in nearly every facet of Western society. Whether it be in the education system, in the corporate world, the film industry, the judicial system – the issue of race lurks.

Black models have been complaining for years about makeup artists unwilling to work with them, not having the makeup they need for photoshoots and sometimes resorting to bringing their own make up. It’s also been voiced about how much harder it’s for black models to actually get modelling jobs, compared to their white counterparts. For one famous black model, Sudanese beauty, Ajak Deng the industry became too much to bear and she announced  that she was quitting! Ajak didn’t explicitly say that racism was the cause of leaving a career that millions of girls around the world covet, however the media has drew its conclusions.

“I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life that I fully deserve. Which is real life.” – Ajak Deng.

Ajak Deng quits modelling, racism in fashion industry, racism in america, black models
Ajak announced it was all over! Pic:

Ajak arrived in Australia as a child refugee, and has been photographed in renowned fashion publications and modelled for world famous designers, such as Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs. She has appeared in Vogue Australia before, but it was earlier comments by her manager Stephen Bucknall, which gave further indications that her decision to quit had something to do with discrimination. Bucknall claims he finds it difficult to book jobs for Ajak in Australia, and was quoted in an Australian newspaper saying, “The Australian market doesn’t want to take the risk of using darker models as mainstream models…“They’ll book the big Caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from LA, but I’m yet to see them book a dark skinned girl in that way.”

Psychological and emotionally it’s hard to accept that a country you call home doesn’t accept you just because of your skin colour. However, when I heard that Ajak quit modelling I thought it was a bit premature and so did she! A few days ago, after a week ‘in retirement’ she announced she is coming back to modelling!

Ajak Deng quits modelling, black models, racisim in fashion, African models, dark skin models

photo credit:

Even if she can’t get work in Australia, she does well in other markets! When you’re put in a position of prominence sometimes you have to stick it out and pave the way for those to come after you. She is part of a bigger picture and summed it up nicely:

“I feel like I have touched so many young people’s lives, gave them hope. Just because I come from NOTHING does not mean that I can’t make something for myself and for that I will still want to continue to touch more lives. Yes sure giving up is easier but who will fight the war that we are so in denial about? … I apologize to every kind souls/hearts that I have broken in the past week. I thought giving up was easier but I am going to stay and fight this war with kindness, forgiveness, love, and support to all humanity.”

Good for you Ajak!

“Representation” is another word you’ll find dancing around the fashion/race row boxing ring, but like most things in life, the solutions to this issue are not black and white. During Zac Posen’s show at NYFW 2016, 25 black models (including Ajak), walked the runway, displaying his designs.

Zac posen New York fashion week 2016, black models, haute coture, high fashion
Zac Posen’s NYFW2016 show – In living colour.

Photo credit: Daniele Oberrauch.

This rubbed some people up the wrong way. There were white models in the lineup, but some spectators were not happy that black models were in the majority, in a country (America), where black people are a minority. In general Posen’s show was well received but some were not filled with the same sentiment. Is it simply a case of mirroring model quotas to census data of the general population?


Part of this problem is that there isn’t any balance in the world, full stop. If the fashion industry in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America was as established as it is in the West, then maybe there would be a larger pie to eat from? The race issue in fashion is no longer dormant. If the industry wants to divorce itself from its unsavoury companion, then it will have to change. That may only happen if society changes, after all the fashion industry is run by human beings. If the fashion industry is prejudice, it’s because society is still prejudice.

Whatever the cause / intention of one of the shortest retirements in history, the fashion and race discourse continues. Watch this runway…

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