Sika Dwimfo, the 'Godfather of Leimert Park,' dies at 83

Artist, master jeweler, community activist and business owner Sika Dwimfo, referred to as the “Godfather of Leimert Park,” died Saturday. He was 83.

His daughter, Milan Dwimfo, posted Sunday on Instagram, “My heart is broken to share that SIKA DWIMFO is our newest ancestor. Thank you everyone for Wednesday. That was the most beautiful sendoff imaginable. He received his flowers while he was here and we should be proud as a community. He loved you Leimert.” No cause of death was given.

Known widely by his mononym, Sika was born Dec. 26, 1940, in New Orleans and grew up in Chicago. He developed a flair for fashion and style from his mother, a tailor who made her son custom suits. As a young man, he owned an art gallery and was befriended by locals including authors Haki R. Madhubuti and Gwendolyn Brooks in an environment rich in jazz, art and poetry.

Eventually, the harsh Midwestern winters wore on the free-spirited Sika and he moved to Los Angeles when he was 31 years old. He became a cornerstone of the Leimert Park community and, since 1992, owned and operated Sika Gallery on Degnan Boulevard. The shop, stocked with jewelry made by Sika, racks of dashikis, beaded necklaces, Ghanaian baskets and Mali mudcloth, weathered the 1992 riots, economic downturns, changing demographics and, more recently, rapid gentrification and the COVID-19 shutdown.

To the end, Sika maintained his sense of personal style. “I like to dress, I like to look nice,” Sika told The Times in 2022. “Now that I’m older, I figure it enhances me. I have to put on something that makes me energetic.”

Staff writers Julissa James and Kailyn Brown contributed to this report.

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