Mats Utas is a professor in Anthropology and head of the department of Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. His research mainly focused on conflict and post conflict situations based on extensive fieldwork in West Africa, mainly Liberia and Sierra Leon.
In this video he contributes with his analysis on gang culture based on post-conflict Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leon and draws some observations on organisational structures and contexts in which criminal groups emerge.
Are these patterns that dissimilar from those we see around gangs in Europe and North America?
Filming and editing by Lost in a Cup’s video director Carl Broberg (2020).
Uppsala is a very lovable city, especially for students. It’s a place where many historical events took place and if buildings could talk, most would tell fascinating stories dating back centuries. Cafés too played a key role in fuelling the academic work, a great example of this is Ofvandahls.
The café opened its doors in 1878 as ‘Erik
Andersson Konditori og Damkafé’ and changed name to Ofvhandals in 1901. In many
nation songbooks you find a song dedicated to it which mentions a series of
things you could have ordered at the time (including ‘avec’ such as cognac,
punsch etc.) which shows the long lasting love affair between the café and the
A former Uppsala student, class 1968, told me that she and her friends often used to take lunch or fika there and then when the cathedral bells rang they would run up the hill to Universitetshusset to attend lesson. “Many cafes and restaurants come and go but Ofvandahls stays” said the lady who was visiting Uppsala for the day and chose to stop by at her cherished café.
Today the student atmosphere lives on and there still is a dedicated discount on coffee. Many still choose to meet there as opposed to going to more modern cafes in the center, prefering its coziness to free Wi-Fi. Homemade cakes, soups, sandwiches and the selection of teas offer something for everyone’s taste, especially on a cold winter day when something comforting is what you need.
Many things in Uppsala’s society are changing for better or for worse but the fika is a lasting institution in which people meet up, chat for hours and no matter how many cups you drink your bank account doesn’t suffer and drowsiness is not a problem; on the contrary, the more you drink the more you get pepped up, talkative and creative, as the caffeine rush goes through your veins.
This daily ritual lives on strong and so does the temple of traditional fika such as Ofvanhals, with its over 140 year history. It is a guarantee that no matter what happenes in the world, in that corner of Sysslomansgatan the hot drinks keep flowing; providing continuity in service that stands outside the boundaries of time.
Location: Sysslomansgatan 5, 753 11 Uppsala – Sweden
Student Discount: Yes
Best for: ordinary Swedish coffee (filter) and traditional cakes!