Partying with the Mpisanes

2014-01-05 14:00

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Shawn and S’bu bring in the new year in decadence and a long guest list of VIPs. Zinhle Mapumulo reports, Khaya Ngwenya took photos.

It was a night to remember for those who ushered in the new year with controversial Durban tenderpreneurs S’bu and Shawn Mpisane at their palatial home in La Lucia, Durban.

At their New Year’s Eve bash on Tuesday night, French champagne and expensive whisky flowed until morning, while heaped buffets left even the most indulgent food lover begging for mercy.

As they left well after 7am, guests were presented with gifts – the women expensive perfumes and the men Cuban cigars.

VIP guests – including Generations stars Menzi Ngubane, Zolisa Xaluva, Winnie Modise, and Thami Mngqolo and his wife Jo Anne Reyneke; Isibaya actors Nomzamo Mbatha and Mampho Brescia; and former national police commissioner Bheki Cele and wife Thembeka – were chauffeured to and from the party in limousines and BMWs.

The couple flew 14 of their VIPs to Durban and put them up in fancy hotels, including the five-star Oyster Box in Umhlanga.

Although the Mpisanes were not willing to share how much cash they spent on the lavish event, it was clear the bill featured a number of zeros.

Party planner and Generations actress Sophie Ndaba also refused to reveal the budget, saying: “It would be difficult to say how much was spent on the party because some of the items used for decor belong to the couple.

“The sound system, for instance, belongs to the Mpisanes and so do the gold royal chairs that were used by the guests.”

The chairs, according to Ndaba, were “custom-made” for Shawn in China and were occasionally given face-lifts and new looks whenever the Mpisanes held an event.

The party began early as guests made their way to the Mpisanes’ home after 7pm.

As they stepped out of the cars, hostesses wearing gold cocktail dresses checked their names against a long guest list before ushering them on to a red carpet leading to the house.

Waiting for them at the other end was actress Connie Ferguson, microphone in hand, with a TV crew behind her.

She interviewed VIP guests before showing them into the garden, in which two stages had been erected.

On one stage, musicians including Mafikizolo, Zonke, Nokwazi and DJ Oskido performed.

On the other stage, which was painted gold and draped in gold silk, sat the Mpisanes.

A marquee was also erected to cover the main table reserved for VIPs, while other guests lounged around on white leather couches and gold “royalty chairs”.

Shawn and S’bu mingled with their guests, who nibbled on starters including lamb kebabs and cocktail sausages.

Wearing matching outfits, the couple walked across the covered pool and up stairs covered in white and red rose petals shaped into hearts, to their stage.

After Ferguson’s husband, actor Shona, delivered a short welcome speech on their behalf, the dinner of pork chops, braised lamb, steak, chicken, fish and sausages was served. Desserts included cheese cake, fruit salad and trifle.

Shawn changed her outfit three times during the party – her first was a black and white dress with sheer sleeves, her second a sequined gold and black dress, and the third was matching white designer shorts and a body-hugging top with cap.

She also had a surprise performance for her guests, taking to the stage to perform a rap song during which she danced and bounced on stage like a real MC.

“That lady has swag and I didn’t know she had it in her,” said one guest.

The Mpisanes recently held a Christmas party in Pietermaritzburg for their staff, at which they gave them gifts including flat screen TVs, smartphones, home theatre systems and cheques of between R2?000 and R25?000.

The couple who own a construction company that has won multimillion-rand tenders from the eThekwini municipality and builds low-cost houses, were in court last year on tax-related charges.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit seized a fleet of their posh cars, including a Maserati and a Rolls-Royce, but gave them back after they handed over R5.6?million.

The couple exchanged gifts of expensive Rolls-Royces, which they called “batons of hope”, to mark the start of 2014.

[gallery ids="91767,91777,91770,91769,91768"]

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