SA's Becks appeal: I love it here, says soccer legend

18 March 2018 - 00:00 By LEONIE WAGNER

Forget the Guptas - maybe Malusi Gigaba should do the right thing and make David Beckham an honorary citizen.
The former footballer says that even though he's visited South Africa many times over the past 25 years, he still gets excited being here.
This time around the man with the golden boot wasn't in town to score goals, but to encourage us to down Haig Club Clubman whisky. It's a single grain offering that comes in the prettiest blue bottle and was launched on Wednesday evening in Sandton.
With arguably one of the most recognisable faces in the world, Becks would, you'd think, draw a crowd of top celebs.
But the Sandton Sun hotel's San Deck teems more with influencers (that tired term for people with more followers than money in the bank), bloggers and media. There is only a smattering of celebs.
Take one of the whisky's newly appointed ambassadors, Tshepi Vundla.
The alluring picture-ready beauty, who describes herself as a fashion stylist, personal shopper and wardrobe consultant on her Instagram profile, is spotted walking the blue carpet multiple times before Beckham turns up.
Among the actual celebs is bubbly Tumi Morake, who admitsshe received her invitation only the day before.Chatting about her departure from Jacaranda FM, Tumi says the radio station tried to do something that was "bigger than them, [but] the audience was never ready".
At least now she's free to do as she pleases, including an upcoming comedy tour to, ahem, the land Down Under that is considering waiving visa restrictions for our farmers of the fairer hue.
Eventually the man of the moment arrived, escorted by TV presenter Lungile Radu, who tried to teach Mr Posh a few of the local hand greetings, which translated into strange variations of gang signs.
Ten points for trying!
While the media were under strict instructions to lock up their cameras after the blue-carpet parade, with no flash photography allowed inside the venue, the night's first groupie moment was when three blonde musketeers broke the selfie seal to pose with the footballer.Our local celebs, though - including Khumbul'ekhaya host Andile Gaelesiwe, Loot Love, Khuli Chana and Maps Maponyane - feigned lack of interest.
After not giving his platter of mini pies, chicken lollipops and fried pork a second look, Beckham addressed the crowd, saying how "personal" his whisky partnership was because it was a long-term investment, not just an endorsement.
He ended his brief address with an advisory to drink responsibly, enjoy the whisky and have fun.
His time at the launch was as fleeting as his speech. Perhaps it was because he was off to attend a private drinks session with the local brand ambassadors at a secret venue?How was the whisky?
When I asked Lunga Shabalala, he seemed more concerned about the fact that he didn't make the cut to join Lungile, Tshepi, celebrity blogger Lelo Boyana and stylist Dumi Gwebu as part of the Haig Club family.
Dressed in a navy suit with a pink shirt, Lunga was one of very few who stuck to the "stylish with a touch of blue" dress code.
The Queen actress Rami Chuene opted for a metallic red Thula Sindi jacket, Maps turned up in jeans, and Loot Love, who never puts a fashion foot wrong, showed that denim can be stylish.
Even Beckham didn't don a touch of blue, but as the host that's his prerogative.
Journalist: "He's here!"
Guest: "Who's the he?"
Journalist: "David Beckham."
Guest: "Oh, we're not looking for him, sweetheart."

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