The much anticipated launch of the Bulawayo Arts Awards has come and gone. The event held at the prestigious Bulawayo Club was over-spilling with Bulawayo’s who’s who. Many kept wondering what the “strictly by invitation” expression on the invitation card meant, when most of the late-but-invited guests could not find a place to sit and had to resort to standing for over 2 hours.
The number of standing people kept on increasing until the end of the event; we wonder how many people were there by the “strictly by invitation”. However on the positive side of things, we are sure the late-comers have learnt a lesson or two about time-keeping (5.30pm means 5.30pm) and hopefully they will not repeat the same error in the near future or else they risk being ejected from such prestigious ceremonies.
Not diverting the compass of this piece, what caught our attention was the diversification of Bulawayo’s dress sense. When one sees it in the streets it rarely registers how different we are, but when the diversity is thrust in one room it just becomes gobsmacked. Most of the guests at the event lived up to expectations and requirements of an evening event, they made sure they dressed to impress as if there was no tomorrow Nonetheless as always there were disappointments here and there (it was a DINNER party set up people!!!). I’m sure the decor people at some point felt they wasted candles that would have been helpful on a rainy ZESA day.
The highlight of the event was of course our very own Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, her highness Ashley Morgen. Dressed in a red number and gold heels that really showed elegance and class, Hats off to the organizers for inviting her, she definitely livened up the room with her dress. Even though she left before the event was over, we are sure that her number was able to tingle a lot of people’s fashion senses. Lady Tshawe also stood out from the rest of the pack, in her black number which blended quite well with the contrast of her pink heels. Talk about bitter sweet, she really went all out to show that contrasting colors can actually work well in fashion (Please don’t try this at home though).
Most people didn’t notice her but remember that woman who gave people forms to fill at the entrance? Yes her…. The one you thought was just a secretary. Most people know her as Rue or “Runyararo from Intwasa” and even though she wasn’t on the spotlight like most, but she really brought her A game to the event. Her African fusion of a dinner dress was on point together with her head-wrap. You could have easily mistaken her for the event’s guest of honor. Speaking of head-wraps, Donna N although in jeans, wore an impressive head-wrap that left some posing the question “how long does she take doing that?” With that gear on her head, she effortlessly becomes mother-in-law’s favorite malukazana without impressing much. Head wear was apparently trending yesterday with Sarah Mpofu –Sibanda and Sandra Ndebele who were looking more like twins in their white braids.
Jealous down, Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda always looks sixteen whenever she pulls a fashion stunt and we have come to love her for that. She has done it, now we patiently wait for the whole of Bulawayo to follow suit. Sandy on the other didn’t get to sing her hit-song “Ingoma” but at least she got a seat despite the fact that she was an hour late (rumor has it she was a bit occupied with sending broadcast messages to promote her new hit single). She came rocking ripped jeans and looked very relaxed, comfortable and happy in them, which is a good thing.
Sandra Ndebele’s better-half of the “Ingoma” hit song, Mzoe7 takes the cup for the best dressed male at the Bulawayo Arts Awards launch event. Attired in a brown coat with matching a hat and shoes complemented by grey pants and waistcoat, Mr. Gagagugu looked exquisite and more like a mafia boss you only get to see in the movies. The vintage look blended quite well with the ambiance of the launch venue. Many could have mistaken Mzoe7 in his outfit for the reincarnation of Cecil John- Rhodes (the African version). This is a giant leap from last year’s ZIMAs where he pulled in his “amapatapata” act. Kudos to him for stepping up to the occasion, all we can say is don’t drop the standard homie.
Author Njabulo Moyo stunned a lot of people when he pitched up in a tux (blue jacket, black pants and a bowtie) and brown loafers. He looked very stylish and composed through-out the whole event. We guess it is true what they say about feeling good when you dress good, we are definitely sure Njabulo knew he looked good and didn’t need anybody telling him that.
Gilmore Tee and Welsh the stylist also graced the event in impressive outfits. As is the trademark with Gilmore Tee he was dressed in all black from the shoes to the waistcoat. What was of great interest in his outfit was the detail on his John Ablaza bowtie (tweet him @GilmoreTee to find out how much it costs). The bowtie accentuated the all black signature giving it color and vibrancy. What can be said about Welsh is that he is one of the bravest people ever to come out of Bulawayo.
His outfits always make heads turn and no matter what people think, he just does not give a fruit about it. If he had been born in the pre-colonial era we are sure he would have become a Ndebele warrior many would sing about for decades. The checkered pants and waistcoat looked very good on the royal blue jacket and the black hat. As always he failed to disappoint.
The Master of Ceremony himself did not let us down. Eli Tawanda did not only serenade the guests with his flawless speech but also made a commendable effort to appeal in the eyes of his audience. His charcoal colored suit was a perfect fit and it looked as if it was tailor-made. He was the life of the party and him dressing up well for that event reflected a lot about his professionalism.
However despite all this the biggest let down of the day came from the event organizers themselves. ZERO effort was made by the organizers to dress up for THEIR occasion that THEY planned and THEY decided to make it a dinner theme with a STRICTLY BY INVITATION tag. Nkue Nkala looked like a pensioner who has spent days in the queue to get his monthly income. However he can get away with the Rasta stereotype (we know that is going to be his excuse). Raisdon Baya on one end made us feel depressed…. Let us not go there because some might contemplate suicide if we recall the outfit. ZERO effort was made, ZERO!!!!!!
In short, the stakeholders of such event should start respecting these events for them to be taken seriously by the rest of the world. Money was being discussed and pledges were being made, it was very important that people dress up for the occasion so as to attract investment and grab national/international attention. Bulawayo is the heart of the Arts industry in Zimbabwe and the Bulawayo Arts Awards are a step in the right direction. Come 30 June 2017 lets slaughter the red carpet.