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Thu Nov 27 15:11:52 SAST 2014

Lira helps the Italians fancy Africa

ANDILE NDLOVU | 17 May, 2012 00:33
Singer Lira appears in the May issue of Italian men's magazine L'Uomo Vogue Picture: L'UOMO VOGUE

Lira attributed her magazine spread in this month's L'Uomo Vogue to the international audience's growing interest in not only her music but in South Africa.

The 33-year-old Phakade singer appears in the Italian men's version of Vogue, which features UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the cover.

It's a playful Lira, in a men's suit and multiple-coloured hats, and looks to capture the theme "Rebranding of Africa".

The idea was similar to Beyonce's 2011 shoot in which she wore a jacket, shirt and a bow-tie, all from Dior Homme, and a Cormeliani waistcoat.

Jessica Alba modelled classic menswear in Ralph Lauren suits in September 2010.

Lira, real name Lerato Kohl, said of the magazine spread: "I had such a good time shooting, and it was only two pictures for the eventual spread, but it was nice to have fun and not be so serious all the time.

"The questions they asked were the exact questions I like to be asked. They wanted to know where we were as South Africa, and where we were going.

"It was like: 'You come from a country we know for apartheid, but who are you now and what's the future looking like?'."

Franca Sozzani, who has been editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia for 24 years, has again received praise for the issue, which is similar to the famous July 2008 all-black issue of the magazine that featured only black models and articles on black women in the arts and entertainment.

Lira said: "I hate the perception that Africa is disease-infested and poor. This was another opportunity to say that my generation is changing all that - we're educated, ambitious, intelligent and global players."

The magazine decided to show the positive side of Africa, which "is showing the willingness to succeed in fields such as the textiles and oil industries, from agriculture to the growing of cotton, coffee, cocoa, to tourism and cinema".

In the past few weeks Lira has appeared on the covers of UK magazines Promota and Fab Afriq.

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