First Lady engages artistes, fashion designers to promote national dress

A WIDE array of musicians and fashion designers converged at Zimbabwe House at the invitation of First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa for a preparatory engagement ahead of her momentus programme slated for December 15 to amplify Zimbabwe’s culture through national dress, traditional food and music.

Since its launch, the national fabric had not fully penetrated the market hence Dr Mnangagwa’s efforts to promote it and ensure it is available and affordable countrywide.

The programme will be held under the theme “My culture, my pride #jira takayenda naAmai”.

The theme and name of the programme were a result of discussions between the First Lady and the artistes’ contributions.

The celebration programme will be taken to all the provinces. 

Each province will identify their own heritage sites and set aside a day to celebrate their culture, traditional food and drinks while dressed in the national attire.

Musician Killer T shares his views during an interactive engagement with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to amplify national culture through national dress, traditional food and music at Zimbabwe House.

During the programme, fashion designers drawn from all the country’s provinces will battle it out in showcasing their designs while musicians will take turns to entertain guests.

Artistes who attended the first-ever meeting between them and the First Lady included Diana Samukange, Andy Muridzo, Dorcas Moyo, Sulumani Chimbetu, Mathias Mhere and Mark Ngwazi.

Also present were Killer T, Gwevedzi Traditional Group, Karingezuva Traditional Group, Ivhu Tribe, Hatiperi, Tafadzwa Mubvumbi, Ishmael Tsakatsa, Yvone Ndawana and Ashava designs, among many others.

Dr Mnangagwa proposed to work with the artistes, who cut across all music genres, and they humbly accepted.

“I have created a time for a mother to sit down with her children and know what they are doing therefore, I want you to feel free and be at home. Vanangu we want to build something tangible together and we carry these ideas outside to bring out results. This is about our culture, our identity. There is nothing shameful nekudada nekwaunobva,” she said to applause.

The mother of the nation told the artistes that her programmes were meant to benefit everyone.

“As a mother, I am non-partisan. Feel free to communicate with me nekuti ndiri mai, ndiri mbuya ndiri tete. Vanangu, as you know, we launched our national fabric with which we had a fashion show. After the launch of the fabric, we did not have enough supplies and the fabric is now there and easily accessible,” she said.

Alone, the First Lady said, it was difficult for her to accomplish much and satisfy the demands of all citizens.

Musician Dorcas Moyo expresses her views during an interactive engagement with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe House.

“Alone I cannot manage, hence the decision to call you on board. If we all put our hands on the deck we would cover much ground. This is non-partisan, the national fabric is for everyone, it belongs to the nation, it does not belong to a particular party. It shows our identity as Zimbabweans. Also in this meeting, we are building our home and we are going forward,” she said.

She added: “I love most of the songs that you sing so I said I want to see the singers and today the wish has been granted. 

“You designers, some of you I have worked with you before. We had a fashion show and could not get the cloth, but we now have it so I invited all designers even one with a single machine or one who uses a needle to come so that we see what you can do and showcase your talent. 

“We want the world to know you and see your designs. There will be a ramp where models will cat-walk as people see. On this particular day we want to see many designs.” 

 “If you walk today with a shirt that has a Zimbabwe bird emblem you would have made your country proud. At times you will not even introduce yourself, but the emblem will do the introduction for you. You would have introduced yourself through that national dress. 

“It gives you a status and even before introducing yourself you would have made a name for yourself through the fabric and you will just say why you have come and that backs you up as a full Zimbabwean.” 

“On December 15, I want you to be with me my children. We are going to have a fashion show that will come from designers including those operating from downtown. I want you to come and show us an apron or doek or anything. This is our identity, it will never change,” she said.

She said people out there really wanted to see the country’s designs and have a glimpse into the national identity through the designs.

So pleased were the artistes to work with the mother of the nation and they all committed to support her fully.

Said gospel singer Mathius Mhere: “We had a memorable interaction with our mother, the First Lady at Zimbabwe House where she warmly welcomed us. We shared ideas and opened one another’s minds looking at our culture. 

“Our mother is encouraging us to return to our culture in terms of dressing and food, that olden of consuming traditional food,” he said before singing the song Favour. 

He added; “Here in Zimbabwe we were granted favour by God for we were given a hardworking mother who has love for everyone. Where else would you get such a loving mother,” he said.

Diana Samukange or VaMangwenya could not hide her joy.

Fashion designer Ms Rose Vambe popularly known as Ashava thanks First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa for her initiatives and also engaging them to find ways to amplify national culture through national dress, traditional food and music at Zimbabwe House.

“We discussed issues of dressing as Zimbabweans. We want to support our mother’s drive to promote the national fabric for our country Zimbabwe. As musicians we have come here to support the initiative and carry it forward. 

“We are artistes and what we sing is listened to by the masses and our job here is to use our talents to carry the initiative forward. Our mother did us a good thing as a country by spearheading our traditional norms and values by promoting the national fabric to reach all. This makes us remember where we came from, our roots. We have endorsed and we will support her vision,” she said.

Dendera maestro, Sulumani Chimbetu, said he was glad to lend his support to the mother of the nation.

Musician Andy Muridzo shares his views during an interactive engagement with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to amplify national culture through national dress, traditional food and music at Zimbabwe House.

“Our mother is promoting traditional dishes which were consumed by our forefathers and make them known to those who are growing up today. As for the national dress, it plays a symbolic role in the preservation of national values, culture and identity.

In the region, Zimbabwe was among the few without their national dress, hence the First Lady’s intervention and vision which we are here to support. We want to encourage all Zimbabweans to fully engage and participate in the promotion and popularisation of the national fabric. This fabric gives us a national image that we should all take pride in. As artistes we are happy and we want to complement the efforts that Amai is doing to promote brand Zimbabwe. My culture, my pride #jira takayenda naAmai,” he said. 

Andy Muridzo weighed in saying; “I have come here to support our mother as she is spearheading her programme of bringing back our tradition and the way we used to live, chinyakare chedu #Jira takaenda naAmai.” 

Sungura musician Mark Ngwazi said he had been touched by the part of improving dressing.

Musician Mathias Mhere expresses his opinions during an interactive engagement with First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe House. – Pictures: John Manzongo.

“I feel very happy because of this programme that has been brought to us by the First Lady that we must treasure our tradition. The way we eat and especially dressing. Some of the way in which we are dressing these days is shameful, we are copying other people’s cultures hence our mother’s intervention. I would be glad if my fans embrace our national fabric. We are now mostly following foreign traditions. If we follow foreign things, who will look after our culture? Who will don our attire? Let us wear our own apparel,” he said.

Exhibit Simango, said: “I lead a cultural ensemble called Karingezuva where we do biras and traditional dances. We teach people to play mbira and marimba. We are glad to have been with our mother who was opening us up so that we remind one another about our culture and tradition mainly looking at culture and tradition. We call you all on 15 December to come and witness traditional performances and traditional food that Amai is going to prepare for us,” he said.

Amai Mnangagwa spearheaded the search for the National Dress after embarking on comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders and different ethnic groups from all the country’s 10 provinces.

The National fabric encompasses national symbols such as the Zimbabwe bird, the national flag and the Chevron pattern.

Herald

Positive Eye News

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