Soccer for the soul in Aurora

Familiar sport comforts growing community of African immigrants

Angolan immigrant Zacarias Paulo perched at the edge of the booth at Le Baobab restaurant, eyes fixed on a big-screen Hitachi as he watched Angola’s Black Antelopes pound Egypt’s Pharaohs in African Cup of Nations soccer.

The Africans come from nations across the continent and, though fewer in number than their counterparts from Mexico, are multiplying rapidly and sinking roots. Census data obtained last week indicated about 16,585 African immigrants reside in the area, which is double the number in 2000.

Their latest oasis opened off a once-blighted bit of East Colfax Avenue is the crimson-walled Le Baobab restaurant in Aurora, run by Congolese refugees Clarisse and Sylvin Mberry.

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