Matebeleland fashion week

WITHOUT a doubt, the city of Bulawayo is the awakening giant in terms of cultural activities.

My prediction is that by this time next year, the whole country will be calling to find out how we are doing it! All the right ingredients are in the mix.

The city has the brain trust to drive the cultural sector. As far as I am concerned, what has been begging is the marketing people’s involvement in the sector.

The product is definitely here. In a few days time, a potentially big event — the Matabeleland Fashion Week — is set to launch on November 1 at the Heath Streak Academy in Suburbs and who better than Culture Beat to pump the press on it?

“Matabeleland Fashion Week exists to showcase fashion and cultural trends of the people of Matabeleland. The primary purpose is to empower people, societies, businesses and the community to appreciate the fashion industry.

The fashion week will showcase designs and products in the fashion industry of Zimbabwe, Matabeleland in particular, thereby creating a network of designs, designers and customers in the fashion industry.

Matabeleland Fashion Week is an exhibition platform created and founded by Amanda Mtangadura, an image consultant, in 2014.

We look forward to make this event a major annual fashion show. Matabeleland Fashion Week aims to work with all stakeholders in the fashion industry, from upcoming models, designers, fashion retailers up to international fashion professionals so as to transform and brand our fashion as people the of Matabeleland,” the organisers state on their Facebook page.

Speaking on the event, Mtangadura of AM Model Management, said: “It was a matter of fact that most big events were hosted in Harare and so we decided to do this one to showcase the work from the Matabeleland region. We are showcasing 10 different local designers and one — Maita Marimo — from Harare. We have got support from local people to cover our costs.”

Mtangadura founded the initiative and is working on the project alongside Gilmore Moyo, an arts promoter.

Entertainment on the night will be provided by local jazz band The Outfit who graced the Intwasa Spring Jazz night alongside Harare’s Tariro ne Gitare. The Outfit deliver a very tight groove. Led by Sam Siwela, a polished guitarist, the young band has been garnering a loyal following in the music sector.

The fashion week initiative aims at promoting Matabeleland fashion brands and trends, the quality of fashion design from Matabeleland and providing a conducive platform for emerging fashion professionals — designers, models and promoters — in the Matabeleland region.

Other goals are to create opportunities for marketing of Matabeleland products in Zimbabwe and the region beyond and a chance for designers, models and retailers to showcase service and products at regional, national and international level.

An accomplished life:
Professor Ali A Mazrui leading African author and academic has died.

Born in Kenya in 1933, Mazrui has been a leading light in the firmament of African thinkers. His legacy is intact.

Mazrui’s publications are influential and voluminous. He made his mark early in his career, before completing his doctoral studies, when in 1963 he published articles in the most prestigious political science journals in the United States and Britain: “On the Concept of ‘We Are All Africans’, The American Political Science Review (March 1963) and “Consent, Colonialism and Sovereignty” Political Studies (UK) (February 1963).

His books began with the publication of three in 1967 alone: Towards a Pax Africana: a Study of Ideology and Ambition (1967); On Heroes and Uhuru-Worship: Essays on Independent Africa (1967); and The Anglo-African Commonwealth: Political Friction and Cultural Fusion (1967).

Other Mazrui books include A World Federation of Cultures: An African Perspective (1976); The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis (1980); Cultural Forces in World Politics (1990); Islam Between Globalisation and Counterterrorism (2006); and African Thought in Comparative Perspective (Seifudein Adem, Ramzi Badran & Patrick Dikirr, (eds), 2014).

The African Condition also formed the basis of the prestigious annual Reith lectures that Mazrui delivered in 1979 for the BBC. His book, The Power of Babel: Language and Governance in Africa’s Experience (co-authored with nephew Alamin M Mazrui) (1998) was launched in the British House of Lords at a ceremony honouring Mazrui’s work.

He and his nephew Alamin also published Black Reparations in the Era of Globalisation (2002). The project stemmed from his appointment in 1992 as one of 12 eminent persons by the Organisation of African Unity Presidential Summit in order to explore the modalities and logistics of reparations for enslavement and colonisation.

He also published a novel, The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971), which was inspired by his anguish over the Nigerian Civil War and the tragic death of a childhood friend; Mohamed Salim Said (nicknamed “Giraffe”).

For an annotated bibliography of Mazrui’s work, comprehensive to date of press, see The Mazruiana Collection Revisited (Abdul S. Bemath, (ed.), 2005).

Books containing scholarly papers about Mazrui’s work include The Global African: a Portrait of Ali A Mazrui (Omari H Kokole, (ed), 1998) and the Politics of Global Africa (Seifudein Adem, (ed), 2011), reads the family obituary on Professor Mazrui who died at age 81 last week.

We have already lost another literary luminary in Maya Angelou.

Meeting an African giant
I met the good professor around 1999 when he was in the country during the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. I had an interview with him in his hotel room at the Crown Plaza after the writers’ workshop.

He was quite affable and engaging. We spoke on a number of subjects. You can imagine that one of those subjects was politics.

We spoke about revolutionary movements and the vision of the founding fathers of Pan Africanism. Of course, the names of leaders such as the late Nelson Mandela and our president came up in the conversation concerning the progress of African states since the time of Nkrumah. There is a reason I have shied away from politics in my writing career.

I just do not care about it enough. Moreover, I fancy the idea of avoiding the premature termination of my life’s lease. I have a young wife! But I will say here and now that my interest in meeting Mazrui was his reputation as an author and towering intellectual of African studies.

He was a political scientist who was as controversial as he was brilliant sitting on many academic platforms. He wrote many books about Africa.

I was privileged to have scalped him for an interview. The privilege lies in the fact that when one is in the presence of a truly distinguished mind, one can only benefit in having his thinking sharpened, if only for a few moments.

Ex–Bongo Love drummer Lynos the General Matope dies
Locally, the community is saddened by the demise of the late percussionist who was buried at West Park cemetery yesterday.

The late artiste featured and worked alongside many local artistes and left an indelible mark on the local sector.

“To me he was what Fela Kuti called Tony Allen ‘The master drummer’,” wrote another local artiste, writer and young academic, Ras Mkhonto, who worked with him.

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