She succeeded despite being racially stereotyped

Natasha Karanja Kinzel

Natasha Karanja Kinzel is the owner of a new shop, African Shop Karanja on the Aarauerstrasse in Augau, Switzerland. This is not a common phenomenon around this area, with the last African shop being shut down and the only other one not always opening regularly.Natasha has fought to be able to set up this shop along this Multi-Kulti street. She had to put up with silly comments like “Neger, geh weg!” (Go away Nigger) while trying to find a place to rent out to set it up. But she didn’t give up.

Now the African Shop Karanja has been in business for little over a month, and the business is booming with clients from all over Africa, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Natasha says, “Some just come over to talk, as they consider me a sister to them”, this perception of closeness though has resulted in Natasha hearing some very scary and sad stories about most foreigners who come to her shop.

The front part of the shop houses a hair salon, with the walls painted in bright yellow and orange and lined with different African hair products. The back part consists of a small shop that sells African and Latin American foods. Natasha plans to also start selling African art and fashion items, as all the art she had used to decorate the shops has already been bought. With the African art, she also plans to attract the Swiss market.

“Most Africans come here to make money then disappear, but I’m here to build something and stay”, the Kenyan married to a Swiss said. It took her over a year to finally get a place to rent, and she says, she’s not ready to give up just yet. From here things can only get better.

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