Celebs splash out
One day I'm painting a school in Soweto, and the next I'm off to a ball in corporate Midrand
THE Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory this week kicked off its publicity drive for the Nelson Mandela Day 2012 initiative coming up on July 18. A handful of celebrities and members of the diplomatic corps gathered at the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto on Wednesday morning for the launch. On Nelson Mandela Day, people are asked to perform a charitable deed to better their communities.
Mzansi's "It" girl, Bonang Matheba, who is the presenter of SABC1's music show Live, joined other entertainers rallying to the cause. Queen "B" looked ravishing in red skinny jeans and a pair of Steve Madden leopard-print flats. I liked the way she held her braids up with a leopard-print scarf, and sported very daring red lipstick.
Others at the launch were hip-hop artists Tuks and ProVerb, DJ Lee-Roy Wright, fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee and R&B star Danny K, who recently got hitched to his advocate sweetheart Lisa Gundelfinger. Gundelfinger rocked up in chic blue denims and black high-heeled boots with a funky zip detail.
During the speeches the lovebirds could not keep their hands to themselves. Mind you, they have not gone on their honeymoon yet - maybe that's the reason. Gundelfinger said they would be going to Italy in July.
After the formalities we drove to Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary School in White City Jabavu to do good. The stars were greeted by a sea of screaming kids in blue uniforms. A choir sang and pupils gave a traditional-dance performance.
The celebs and guests soon rolled up their sleeves to paint a classroom. I told Bonang I was worried she would spill paint on her lovely shoes.
"Ag don't worry. I will just get new ones," she said.
The CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Achmat Dangor, announced that the Department of Education would be driving two initiatives this year: a container library project and a project to refurbish 94 schools. The number is a nod to Mandela's age.
It would be nice if the department delivered textbooks to schools instead of embarking on such an ambitious project. Just saying.
After such activities, I must say that it was difficult for me to get into a ball gown the following day for my next function of the week. But because the invitation came from celebrity event organiser Edith Venter, I could not say no to walking down that glamorous black carpet. The Apex Awards brought together captains of the advertising and communications industry for a white-tie gala dinner at Vodaworld in Midrand. The men looked like penguins in their tuxedos and the ladies were in glittering evening gowns as if off to a royal dinner.
The hostess led by example in a red puffy gown with ruffles from the waist down. The off-shoulder top was decorated in silver.
I want to give Recording Industry of South Africa CEO Randall Abrahams the highest fashion award and move him to Los Angeles to go play with big boys like Brad Pitt, because his tux with white jacket and black pants was just in a league of its own.
More than 350 guests enjoyed a three-course meal in a dimly lit room decorated in black and gold. Comedian Stuart Taylor gave us a good laugh. Egyptian activist Waleed Rashed gave the keynote address. If you cast your mind back to last year's revolutions in North Africa, you will remember a young man who started the Egyptian revolution through social networks. Rashed also gave an on-stage interview to a veteran journalist, SAfm's Ashraf Garda, who, by the way, seemed to have missed the "white tie" part in the invitation. He wore a silver suit and a white shirt without any tie. In my books that is definitely a punishable fashion offence.
Egyptians went to the polls last week for the first free elections in 7000 years. Rashed told us he had put a cross on his ballot in the US a week before while on a business trip.
"This was the first time to make such a big decision in my life. I now have a choice of who I want to be my president. I also now have a former president," said the 29-year-old.
Venue: 5/10 - The corporate side of Midrand did not exactly complement the white-tie affair. I would have preferred a secluded conference centre with a lush garden.
Décor: 8/10 - The square tables were decorated with a black table cloth with gold detailing and green, pink and yellow lamps as centrepieces, some with gold roses around the top and edge. Some of the tables had dark pink feathers as centrepieces.
Food 7/10 - We were served canapés on arrival, then crispy potato baskets with roast fillet and horseradish crème fraiche, salmon and a delicious tomato soup, served with a mini toasted-cheese sandwich.
The main course was perfect for a winter night: a baked lamb shank served on a bed of mash, accompanied by root vegetables.
Dessert was served buffet style, a gorgeous display of mini nibbles such as tiramisu in elegant glass pots, glass vases of designer chocolate-dipped strawberries, and cupcakes.
Vibe 6/10 - The dramatic opening featured dancers and a splendid violin player hanging from the ceiling, dressed in black hot pants and a sequined bra-like top. The on-stage interview dragged a tad longer than necessary. To add to the fun of the night, we each received a Moulin Rouge mask decorated with feathers.