#FashionFindsWednesday: Ulyana Sergeenko built her antique and vintage empire

From graduating in the Faculty of Philology to becoming Russia’s big deal in the fashion industry.

Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian-based fashion designer, who has worked with many celebrities, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Natalia Vodianova.

The Ulyana Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with a first collection designed for autumn-winter 2011/12.

Her debut collection featured clingy knit tops, quilted skirts, floor-sweeping greatcoats, and enough sable to swaddle the Russian army.

Today, the designer has the Moscow-based company that has ready-to-wear women clothing, bags, jewellery and headpieces.

Sergeenko has always love fashion.

With all the love she is receiving, Sergeenko has built a fashion empire that consists of a a collection of antique and vintage clothes and accessories, ranging from the rare ancient jewellery to Soviet school uniform.

The designer frequently visits flea-markets and vintage boutiques as her way of inventing new styles, whereas all her fabrics and trimmings are bought in France, Italy and Japan.

Sergeenko collaborates with highly-skilled ateliers from Russia, along with numerous craftsmen from former Soviets republics. She did that to help them preserve their precious knowledge in the process.

In her 2018 collection called Haute Couture Spring Summer, she designed gowns with long bell-shaped skirts and puffed sleeves with vivid colours. She said that her collection was inspired by the 40s and 50s styles codes.

 

 

 

 

 

Through the eyes of African Chef

Exploring food’s soft power with chef and author Nompumelelo Mqwebu

Nompumelelo Mqwebu is an enterprising chef who has travelled the world to hone her skills. Yet her roots remain firmly planted in her homeland of Africa. She has recently released her debut cookbook, Through the Eyes of an African Chef.

Chef Mwqwebu runs Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, a skills-training and hospitality service provider, as well as the Mzansi International Culinary Festival. Before this, Nompumelelo spent 10 years training and mastering her cooking skills around South Africa and the world, including at culinary schools and kitchens in New York, London, Paris, Bremen and Shannary. She has sat on various judging panels, including judging the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Having trained at the prestigious Ballymalloe Cookery School in Ireland, Chef Mqwebu has mastered the art of making yoghurts, butters, preserves and countless more recipes and methodologies that are included in her book. We chatted to Nompumelelo about food as a powerful ingredient in human and foreign relations.

In your years of travels as a chef, have you experienced the “soft power”of food?

Yes, food transmits with it a cultural identity. When people taste your food, they appreciate and embrace your identity and culture. This bonds well in business as well as in social circles. Offering your food means opening your world. Hospitality is incomplete without food. As part of etiquette, people are catered for when they visit. There’s a certain level of respect people afford you, when you display information of who you are.

A chapter in your book is titled “Ukuhamba Kuzala Induna (My Food Travels)”- if you had the opportunity to travel to any of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), where would you go and why?

Brazil- from what I have learnt over the years about Brazil being the largest country in South America and the most diverse, it fascinates me. I would love to try their local dishes and explore the influences of their neighbouring countries, such as Venezuela and Peru. I am interested in gauging if the food I have eaten outside Brazil, which is said to be authentic Brazilian, measures up to the cooking in Brazil. Dig into their indigenous and ingredients and cooking methods to feed me into their cultural identity.

Each of the BRIC countries have a signature drink or dish – what would South Africa’s be?

South Africa is not a one-nation one-dish type of country. We have indigenous ingredients from our diverse cultures that make up this South African nation, reflected by our 11 official languages. From samp with marrow, to dovhi la mukusule, tsama melon, springbok meat with maize meal rice, ting and many more!

What do you think other nations can learn from South Africa food techniques, from growing and harvesting to preparation and preservation?

The art of preserving meat called mukoki (biltong), which has been with us for decades. It has been transformed to the rest of the world, but much of its important history if from the Khoisan hunters, VhaVenda and other South Africa peoples and has been lost along the way. Another example is umqombothi (traditional Zulu beer) – the fermentation is an age-old formula using sorghum that has entered world trends, but which has been part of our daily lives for centuries. Even looking at the “new”nose-to-tail talk – it has always been here, the relationship between Africans and animals. The skin is used rather than thrown away. The skin is used rather than thrown away. The animal is eaten from the premium cuts to tripe. Horns, hooves, tail hair – everything has its use. Food waste is something of a new phenomenon by reviving our methods of old. 

What can be done to ensure South African effectively uses food for national branding purposes?

We must take up our food identity with the national pride it deserves. We need to listen to our visitors. They do not come to our country to taste their food; they are here for our food. They need us to genuinely welcome them by opening our culinary journey in earnest, sharing who we are that reflective of our roots and our food culture. We are a diverse nation, and that should be reflected fully in our cuisine. Embrace the cultures previously left in our culinary history.

What advice would you give South African chefs who are cooking beyond the borders of our country?

Keep it real. Show pride in your roots and our identity, which is brimming with diverse cultures that are yet to explored. Remember to know where you’re going- it’s important to know your history. 

 

 

 

WCW: Remarkable African women in Politics & Economics

The last few years has seen a slow but steady shift of political and economic power. We’ve highlighted these five phenomenal African women who are making strides in their respective designations. 

  1. Trudi Makhaya (South Africa) – Economist, entrepreneur and writer who was recently appointed to be South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic advisor. Makhaya’s duties include coordinating the work of investment envoys as they travel the world in a bid to attract at least $100-billion (R1.2-trillion) in new foreign direct investment to the economy over the next five years.
  2. Bience Gawanas (Namibia) – was recently appointed by the United Unions Secretary General António Guterres as a new female Special Advisor on Africa. Gawandas who is currently the Special Advisor to Namibia’s Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has also served as Special Advisor on health, social affairs and poverty in Namibia and is known as a champion of women’s health and rights on the continent.
  3. NneNne Iwuji-Ewe (Mozambique) – She became the United Kingdom’s first female ambassador. She spent 16 years in the British Foreign Office and will take up her role as British high commissioner to Mozambique, taking over from Joanna Kuenssberg.
  4. Bogolo Kenewendi (Botswana) – She is the youngest minister in Botswana’s parliament. She first joined parliament in 2016 as an elected MP by former president Ian Khama, and she is now the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. Her appointment has received a lot of praise as most political positions are given to older people.
  5. Obiageli Ezekwesili (Nigeria) – is Senior Economic Advisor to the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative. She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany.

 

Trudi Makhaya – President Ramaphosa’s new economic adviser

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the appointment of economist, entrepreneur and writer, Trudi Makhaya as his economic advisor.

Ramaphosa said Makhaya’s duties would include coordinating the work of investment envoys as they travel the world in the hope of attracting at least $100-billion (R1.2-trillion) in new foreign direct investment to the economy over the next five years.

“Among her immediate responsibilities will be the coordination of the work of these special envoys and a series of investment roadshows in preparation for the Investment Conference,” Ramaphosa said.

“The engagements that we expect to take place will also be part of a process towards the establishment of a presidential council on investment.”

Everything you need to know about Trudi Makhaya:

  • She previously served as an advisor and angel investor in young companies and held non-executive directorships at Vumelana Advisory Fund and MTN South Africa.
  • Makhaya was the principal economist and an executive committee member at the Competition Commission of South Africa from 2010 to 2014, where her role was to assess the competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions, analysing complex competition enforcement cases and appearing as an expert witness at the Competition Tribunal.
  • Before joining the Competition Commission, Makhaya held various management consulting and corporate roles at Deloitte South Africa, Genesis Analytics and AngloGold Ashanti.
  • Makhaya holds an MBA and an MSc in Development Economics from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar. From the University of Witwatersrand, she holds an MCom in Economics, an honours degree in economics and a BCom in Law and Economics.

Source: African News Agency

Memorable moments of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life

The nation came to a standstill on Monday 2 April 2018 with the news of Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s passing. The struggle heroine, who devoted her life to equality and women’s rights, died at the age of 81 at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg following a long illness.
An extract from the official press statement by the Mandela family reads:

“Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid. She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions‚ eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State.

She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation.

The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing‚ we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable woman.”

She was often referred to as ‘Madiba’s (ex) wife’, but many do not know just how big her contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle was. Here are some of the memorable highlights in the Mother of the Nation’s life:

  • In 1953, Madikizela-Mandela moved to Johannesburg from her place of birth, Bizana (Eastern Cape) to pursue her Social Work studies at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work. She completed her degree in 1955 and became the first black medical social worker at Baragwanath Hospital.
  • She was first imprisoned in 1958 for her role in the anti-pass campaign, and in the same year married Nelson Mandela, a member of the African National Congress’ national executive who later became the first black president of the Democratic Republic of South Africa.
  • In 1969‚ Madikizela-Mandela became one of the firsts to be detained under Section 6 of theTerrorism Act of 1967. After being detained for 18 months in solitary confinement in a condemned cell at Pretoria Central Prison, she was charged under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950.
  • She was at Mandela’s side the time he was realised from Robben Island in 1990.
  • In 1993 and 1997, Ma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was elected president of the ANC Women’s League. 

Source : Independent Online , African News Agency/ANA

Pelé: In a League of His Own

By BRICS JOURNAL

Considered the greatest player of all time by many around the world, the legendary Brazilian footballer achieved records which remain unbeaten today. BRICS Journal looks back on his electrifying career.

“I arrived hoping to stop a great man, but I went away convinced I had been undone by someone who was not born on the same planet as the rest of us.” – Costa Pereira

To any fan of the beautiful game, Pelé is much more than just a retired footballer: He is a global icon. Even after 39 years in retirement, the world is yet to produce a soccer player that comes close to Pelé’s talent and skill. Costa Pereira, who was a goal-keeper at the time, is famously quoted saying this of Pelé after playing against his team in 1962: “I arrived hoping to stop a great man, but I went away convinced I had been undone by someone who was not born on the same planet as the rest of us.”

In 1958 the 17-year-old Pele was the youngest player in the FIFA World Cup tournament held in Sweden. He was also the youngest player to ever play in the World Cup, a record which was broken by Norman Whiteside, who was six months younger than Pelé, in 1982.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he became known as “Pelé” along the way. While there is a tale that he picked up this name because he couldn’t pronounce one of his favourite player’s names – Bilé – properly, Pelé stated in his autobiography that he had no idea what the name meant, or where it came from and neither did his old school buddies.

His 1958 performance cemented his name in the minds of football lovers around the world when the then teen scored two of the five goals that would secure Brazil’s first-ever World Cup win. He went on to secure two more World Cup wins for his country, a feat no other soccer player has achieved to date. At the age of 75, Pelé reflected on that moment in a letter to his younger self with the words: “At the 1958 final, I passed out and fell to the ground. The emotion was simply too much for my body.”

In 1968 he made history yet again, this time with his now famous bicycle kick. The technique is one of the most difficult to execute and rarely perfected. Not only does the player need to maintain good form when executing the move, he must simultaneously exhibit exceptional accuracy and precision when striking the ball. Pelé pulled it off without a hitch in a game against Belgium.

By 1969 Pelé’s fan base had reached Nigeria too and Santos was scheduled to play in the country, which was in the throes of a civil war. The games had been arranged well in advance, and for financial reasons the Brazilians decided not to cancel. The two sides agreed to a 48-hour truce and soldiers from both sides reportedly attended the matches. The war resumed after two-day period had lapsed.

Read more at BRICS JOURNAL…