Liberty ponies up for polo's big day
With a history dating back to 1925 when Britain's Prince Edward came to South Africa and donated its cup, the Prince of Wales Polo Cup is touted as Africa's grandest tournament.
With the cup this year hosted by financial services group Liberty, I am looking forward to a day of thrilling sportsmanship, scintillating company and a lavish spread as I make my way to the Rosefield Polo Club in Centurion, Pretoria, on Sunday morning.
In a marquee decked out in white and gold, I meet event-organising couple Kgomotso and Masedi Molosiwa and point out to the latter that someone else is wearing an identical pink, white and black blazer.
"I know," he grins. "At least everyone will see me wearing mine first when I greet them as they arrive."Someone else unmissable in the room - this time a redhead wearing a yellow, black and red tartan kilt with black tee and blazer - is Richard Nuss, there with his hotelier husband, Michael Kewley.
I say hello to designer Thabo Makhetha, who was recently in the news when a French luxury brand appropriated the Basotho blankets that have become a signature of her work.
Then it's on to the official proceedings, starting with singing the national anthems of South Africa and Kenya, against whom we are playing, led by the South African Polo Association's Clive Peddle, the Molosiwas, Kenyan high commissioner to South Africa Jean Kamau and one of my favourite royals, Tirelo Molotlegi of the Royal Bafokeng.
Tirelo is wearing a pretty red-and-white polka-dot tea dress bought in London and tells me she spends her time these days doing charity work with her mom, Royal Bafokeng Queen Mother Semane Molotlegi.
"After all, what we do is for the people," she says.
Elsewhere in the room I spot Sydney Mbhele, the dapper head of marketing for Liberty, talking to another marketer (who is equally good at marketing herself), gorgeous Vika Shipalana, undoubtedly best-dressed on the day in a flowing pink-and-white printed chiffon maxi.
You'll want to know about the match, and while I can't tell my chukka from a knock-in, I do know we beat the Kenyans by seven points to six.
And food-wise, while the day was thin on arrival canapé (not a good idea when swilling champers and cocktails in the heat), I quite enjoyed the lunchtime spread, which started with a smorgasbord of antipasti (think yummy sticky chicken thighs, spiced prawns with avo mousse and grilled brinjals with slices of buffalo mozzarella) followed by dishes of roast beef with spicy lamb koftas, Norwegian salmon, and mushroom and truffle risotto, which we shared before the lemon posset and choc ganache dessert.