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Episode 575: African Vegan Traditions ft. Chef Cola

By Jasmin and Mariann — January 16, 2021

The incredible Chef Cola joins the podcast from Zimbabwe this week and we couldn’t be more excited. Nicola “Chef Cola” Kagoro founded African Vegan On A Budget in 2016 to raise awareness about plant-based eating and to inspire people to incorporate vegan meals into their diet everyday. She teamed up with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) to establish a vegan camp kitchen in the bush for the Akashinga Rangers, an all-woman team protecting wild animals from poaching. Chef Cola is also the founder of the grassroots movement Back to Black Roots, an initiative that spreads awareness of the beauty of African vegan culture and cuisine.

Chef Cola joins Mariann today to share the steps and strategies that she takes to ensure she is not only feeding the anti-poaching rangers healthy, nourishing, and delicious meals, but also encouraging them to teach their families about the benefits of a plant-based diet and helping them carry the movement out into their communities. She explains why she is so passionate about spreading the word about the vegan diet and shares why it’s important to incorporate nutritional education in schools and clinics. She also talks about how she works to counter the idea that veganism is a luxury Western diet rather than the very basis of traditional African cuisine.

“We now know that meat is not right for us, and we now know that meat is a form of exploitation.”
– Chef Cola

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • How Chef Cola approaches educating the community, and the key process of “unlearning” the prestige of eating meat
  • How she managed to show the Akashinga warriors that plant-based eating can be delicious and healthy
  • The negative effects of the introduction of factory farming in Africa and whether Chef Cola feels that traditional diets are under threat from the availability of cheap meat
  • Impact of colonialism on the African diet as a whole, and why that continues to be a problem for Black, Indigenous, and people of color
  • How the IAPF has helped spread the philosophy of animal rights
  • Why more light needs to be shed on the issue of climate change and its connection to what we eat
  • Chef Cola’s thoughts on how the vegan movement and the Black Lives Matter movement intersect
  • How Chef Cola connected with the IAPF and why she is passionate about looking to history to inform her present role as an ambassador for returning to a traditional African diet

Connect with Chef Cola:

Connect with Our Hen House:


This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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