National dress plays a symbolic role in the preservation of national values, culture and identity, as we saw yesterday during the provincial launch of the national fabric hosted by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Unlike other countries in the region, Zimbabwe was among the few without their national dress, hence the intervention of the First Lady who was hailed by various stakeholders
Yesterday, the First Lady was the guest of honor at a ceremony where all the provinces of the country competed for honors in the cut and design of outfits using the national fabric.
There were lots of eye-catching displays of baby clothes, formal / executive wear, formal wear and exhibits which included work suits, baby clothes, formal wear, executive wear, sports clothes and a presidential shirt.
The chefs left guests in awe as they looked radiant in their new clothes designed from the national fabric.
Evening wear, hotel vibe and smart casual outfits were also featured.
The function, which was held in accordance with Covid-19 prevention measures, was honored by President Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, government ministers, traditional leaders and guests from the 10 provinces of the country.
In her speech, the First Lady said the creation of a national dress was the culmination of extensive consultations that took place with various stakeholders to seek a way forward with the participation of all.
She commended the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, for coordinating the provinces in their work towards the competitions and all the national clothing design competitors. “On December 19, 2020, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe launched the national fabric of Zimbabwe at the State House,” said the First Lady.
She said the ministries of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation; Higher and tertiary education, scientific and technological development; the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the chiefs’ wives, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, arts scholars and designers had been consulted to create the fabric.
The national archives, museums and monuments, the Zimbabwe National Arts Council and the National Arts Gallery and others were not left behind.
“Nationwide consultations were also conducted with communities that involved assigning young creative people to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate them and bridge the generational gap,” the First Lady said. “I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the work that has been done by the affected teams, whose roles have been critical in ensuring this process is successful.
“Today, we are witnessing provincial competitions as well as a fashion show where various patterns from the national fabric are exhibited. We also looked at how this fabric could be designed in such a way that it bodes well with the desire to instill nationalism among Zimbabweans near and far.
“We want to encourage all Zimbabweans to fully engage and participate in the promotion and popularization of the national fabric. This fabric will give us a national image that we should all be proud of.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am really delighted with this achievement. A nation’s heritage is invaluable and must be preserved and developed in order to foster a sense of national identity, pride and unity.
The mother of the nation said the whole idea of a national costume is to express dedication and belonging to a country, without having to say so when worn on occasion.
National dress, she said, can be more than just a celebration.
“It can continue to remind us of important pages in history – how we lived in the past, what our traditions were, what we wore, etc. », Declared the First Lady. “Ladies and gentlemen, national dress is a very important part of Zimbabwe itself. It is also a question of patriotism.
“People should make it popular because it plays an important symbolic role in preserving national values and cultural heritage. It is our duty to maintain and care for the national fabric as it is part of our nation’s identity and sets us apart from other nations.
Amai Mnangagwa said that the national dress is not only a “costume” that is constantly referred to, but an important part of the culture of someone who is often rich in symbolism.
“Learn about a particular piece and how it’s traditionally worn,” she said. “Wearing national pieces of clothing is a respectful ode to traditions and cultures. Worn inappropriately or in the wrong way can be insulting.
“Please give the national dress a place in your wardrobe and enjoy the precious memories of your travels every time you put them on. Remember that your national dress is your national identity, wear it.
Among the designers who exhibited at yesterday’s event was Maud Chinodakufa from central Mashonaland province, who made personal protective equipment using the national fabric.
“I sew this work suit which is personal protective equipment (PPE) using the national fabric and it helps to avoid the danger to minors,” she said. “Mashonaland Central is packed with minerals, so I designed the work suit with that in mind. “
Another creator described the national fabric as a vehicle for empowerment and national pride.
“As a designer and artist, I see this as an opportunity to empower ourselves as young women, designers and come up with different designs and different ideas to use our national fabric,” she said.
“This is an opportunity to create a very warm environment for our tourists, especially in hotels and lodges as it can be used on curtains and bed linen. It is a form of identity. When our tourists come to visit us, they will feel like they are now in Zimbabwe. We would like to thank the First Lady for spearheading this initiative.
Minister Nyoni applauded the First Lady who she said was the invention of national dress.
“This fabric was the imagination of the First Lady and today we celebrate the national dress in its diversity because it did not want to limit the creativity of Zimbabweans,” she said.
Chief Nechombo Mr. Langton Chikukwa paid tribute to the First Lady for helping traditional leaders in their work of positioning, preserving and promoting culture.
“Our culture cannot go back if we have a mother,” he said. “As leaders, we keep saying that the problem we have is one of cultural erosion. We need to go back and rediscover our versatile cultural values that we have left behind and thanks to Amai, our First Lady and her support, we do not see ourselves going back.
“In all of our provinces across the country, the First Lady has led programs related to the restoration and preservation of our culture. This national dress was our greatest desire as traditional leaders to position, preserve and promote culture and identity.
Mr. Tafadzwa Chitiyo came first as best designer followed by Sandra Ndebele, who came second.