Leimert Park Icon Sika Dwimfo Celebrates 81st Birthday

On Monday, December 27, the Leimert Park community surprised longtime business owner and community activist and cornerstone, Sika Dwimfo, for his 81st birthday.   As Sika’s birthday approached, Albert Lord, Community Build vice president of Gov. Relations and Arts Programs, wanted to do more. “When I learned about Sika’s 81st birthday, I thought it would a nice idea to give him his flowers now, vs. later.  Sika has always been a gentle and kind friend.  For me to do this for him was the least I could do,” said Lord.

Close to 30 people, including representatives from various organizations to merchants such as Dwight Tribble, Fernando Pullum, Ade of Ride On, his daughter, Milan, family and friends, and well-wishers showed up to surprise Sika in front of his storefront in Leimert Park.

Milan Dwimo, Sika’s daughter (2nd left), holds the birthday certificate from the City of Los Angeles Southwest area Representative Jennifer Perkins present from Mayor Garcetti’s office for his 81st birthday with family and friends. Photo Cynthia Gibson CKG Communications

Born December 26, 1940, in New Orleans, Sika came to Leimert Park in 1992, opened his business, and has been in the same location since.   He and his friend, Kahil Shareem, had an arts and crafts store called Jua Black arts and craftsman guild, which was very popular in the mid-’70s.  Between ‘77 and ‘92, Sika traveled around doing art shows.

In regards to his lifestyle, “I’m into health, eating properly, fasting,” said Sika, who regularly goes to iridology, chiropractor, and a natural path for his health.  In terms of nutrition, according to SIka, the last time he had a hamburger was with his sons in 1982. He eats mostly seafood.

Community Build President Robert Saucedo, Sika Dwimfo, Los Angeles Southwest Representative Jennifer Perkins for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, and Community Build  Vice President of Gov. Relations and Arts Programs Albert Lord, at an event honoring Sika at his 81st birthday celebration.   Photo Cynthia Gibson CKG Communications

Sika attributes longevity in business to his priorities in life. “Pay your bills first and do not buy a BMW when you cannot afford the repair on it,” he said. He likes his Volkswagen.

Sika’s daughter, Milan, who learned the business from her dad, took the store over four years ago.  “I wouldn’t know how to do any of this or curate any of this without him. I was six when he moved into this store,” she said.  “Although he is my father, I am proud of him and his influence.  He cares about people and is a really sweet guy.”

Sika (right) with friends and business owners at his 81st birthday celebration. Photo Cynthia Gibson CKG Communications

Community Build President Robert Saucedo reflected on Sika’s legacy.  “One of the beautiful things about Sika is that he’s always been a convener of people,” he said.  “He’s always trying to acknowledge community members and bring us together.  It’s an honor to gather together to honor him and the historic nature of what he’s done for us.”

A young Sika Dwimfo in Nigeria during the Festac Festival at Fela Kuti’s compound. (Courtesy Milan Dwimfo)

This story was contributed to by Cynthia Gibson CKG Communications, E. Mesiyah McGinnis, and Albert Lor