Mugabe signature label clothes launched

2012-03-05 10:22

Harare - From Marxist revolutionary to Africa's oldest leader to fashion icon. That's how a group of young Zimbabwean designers see Robert Mugabe, whose signature they have splashed across a new clothing line.

"He is a revolutionary, he is a cultural icon and we decided, why not honour him," Justin Matenda, 28, a director of Yedu Nesu, makers of the Mugabe clothing label said.

"This is something that we want to be upheld by so many generations to come."

Under the brand House of Gushungo - Mugabe's clan name - the 88-year-old president's signature is splayed in silver studs across caps, t-shirts coffee mugs and berets. Some items show his birth year, 1924, in Roman numerals.

It's a high-priced upgrade from the tradition of emblazoning his image on cloth prints, given to women to wear as wraps or sewn into men's shirts and caps.

Prices range from $10 to $30, in a nation where the World Bank says nearly three-fourths of the population lives in poverty, on less than $3 a day for a family of five.

But Matenda has big dreams of taking on famous labels like Luis Vutton, Gucci and Paul Smith. He wants to take samples of the line to Paris Fashion Week.

"Even if we are not going to be able to take part in this event this year. We are going to take part in the next coming years," Matenda said.

"This is just a fashion label"

"I am proud to be associated with our president, with his ideologies and they make me who I am right now," he said.

"This is not political, it is very much apolitical. This is just a fashion label, just like any other label you might think of."

But human rights campaigner Blessing Vava said the clothing was a blatant campaign ploy by Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which is pressing for elections this year.

"This is part of the Zanu-PF election campaign to desperately sell their candidate ahead of elections," Vava said.

"Zanu-PF is employing all tactics from music to clothing labels to campaign for its leader. But I don't think the majority of Zimbabweans will buy the label," he said.

Some of the clothing was spotted at Mugabe's 88th birthday rally in the eastern city of Mutare, but the line has yet to make a big splash on the streets.

"I am yet to see the clothes, it is actually news to me," said a street-corner cigarette vendor in Harare.

Matenda said the dearth of fashion labels with a local identity inspired him and his friends to launch Mugabe's clothing line.

"Each and everyday we are putting on clothes and they have different inscriptions on them. Some Hugo Boss, some Paul Smith, some Giorgio Armani - but it's quite unfortunate that most people can't even associate themselves with these people," he said.

"A brand that cuts above any other brand"

Mugabe approved the use of his signature for the label although the designers did not meet him in person. Matenda said that Mugabe told them the signature was his but it belonged to the people.

The clothing line is the latest in a list of items designed to honour a man idolised by his supporters as a liberation hero and reviled by his foes for his tainted human rights record.

In addition to generations of campaign cloth, state radio and television allocate generous airplay to musicians who sing praises for the man who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Matenda said they are planning to brand jackets, shoes, suits and watches with Mugabe's signature, with goods manufactured both locally and in Asia.

"We have seen that we are holding to a brand that cuts above any other brand," he said. "I rank it above all the labels one might think of, the Luis Vuittons, the Guccis and the Giorgio Armanis."

Matenda said Mugabe would receive no royalties.

  • Kagiso - 2012-03-05 11:07

    mugabe has no honour to uphold, he destroyed it when he started to oppress, starve and murder his own people.

      Sinudeity - 2012-03-05 14:40

      You have been brainwashed.

      Amanda - 2012-03-05 14:43

      Sinudeity.. i think u are the one who has been brainwashed

      Kagiso - 2012-03-05 15:53

      @trevor, so you say tht murdering and starving your own people is honourable?! you're sick in the head, from all tht mugarbage brainwashing. this goes for sinudeity as well...

      Johan - 2012-03-05 16:40

      @Trevor Judging by your comment here nobody needs to think that they are better than you. Anybody will be...infact I want to state that I believe that even a dog is better than you

      Chris - 2012-03-06 12:57

      Too true Kagiso!! @Trevor and nudity (really inappropriate name by the way): I've heard from black Zimbabweans how bad it is there. They told me based on what they'd seen with their own eyes! Are they brainwashed too???

      jbukutu - 2012-03-06 17:09

      thats what the media want you to believe...Gushungo's value is in teaching black people the world over to challenge evil and defeat it...and believe me if you dont believe in this fight, then he doesnt need you to honour him...and those of us who do are glad that you are not one of us

      Modefan - 2012-03-09 14:05

      "Matenda said that Mugabe told them the signature was his but it belonged to the people" ... stupid statements come from trying to be clever

  • Mpumelo - 2012-03-05 11:20

    Kagiso is right. Only sick heads and thugs honour genocidal dictators like Mugabe

  • Trevor - 2012-03-05 12:49

    Well done guys.The legend lives and his story will be told for generations to come. Feel sorry for the whites who harbour so much hate for Mugabe. Come on guys being defeated during the war of liberation is not so bad. lets forgive and forget. After all you came to Africa. Saves you right

      Mpumelo - 2012-03-05 13:33

      @Trevor. Why have so many black Zimbabweans fled to South Africa? There are millions of our black compatriots in South Africa who hate Mugabe with a passion for what he has done to Zimbabwe. Stop trying to make it a race issue when it has no bearing on race.

      Alex - 2012-03-05 13:45

      Trevor, your thinking is a disgrace.

      Amanda - 2012-03-05 14:17

      Trevor your a blind tool!!! I can only pray that one day you will be able to see the ruin he has done to such an amazing nation. I feel sorry for you not hate :)

      Chris - 2012-03-06 12:59

      @ Akili: Do you need a hug my brother? Sounds like you weren't hugged enough as a child! I'd also love to live under a dictator and be poor...NOT!!!

      Jan - 2012-03-08 14:24

      @Trevor you are an idiot!

      nmduduzi - 2012-03-09 12:02

      @Trevor people hate to be told the truth, lye to them they will be happy and Laughing, Whoever is offended by what Mugabe says then move away from Africa,

      tmoongo - 2012-03-10 15:14

      sorry fr wat,after thy hve been treating as .....ITS OUR TURN(revegeee)

  • Sinudeity - 2012-03-05 14:39

    I have a Juju Tshirt,I want a President Mugabe one. He is a true hero who sacrificed everything and the only hero to stand up to the western oppressors consistently.

      Arthur - 2012-03-08 10:48

      Hope they include underpants in their range and sell them to people who are incontinent!

      Jan - 2012-03-08 14:27

      If it wasnt for the west you wouldnt even know how to read, write or tipe. Well i guess it is western civilizations fault that i have to read all your idiotic comments. Apologies from all the white people

  • Akili - 2012-03-06 08:31

    It is so sad to see Black South Africans commenting like this about Zim without knowing the facts. Even worst is that they are still a dispossessed people. Its either we get our facts straight or we get our own land back first, before we can comment about Zimbabwe which by the way its black people are progressing very well all by themselves. When are SA blacks going to wake up and use their own thinking!!!

      Trevor - 2012-03-06 09:34

      Indeed, but perhaps it is fear. Fear to stand up and be counted. How many leaders can take the insults, that Mugabe has taken for his people? How many leaders can take the pressure? What annoys me the most is that blacks will be on the side of the whites without knowing the facts as you rightly say.That divides us as people. My heart breaks at the divisions that i see in Zimbabwe (Shona /Ndebele). The ANC is cracking (Malema saga). BUT there is hope in tomorrow.Maybe not us but our kids will be masters.Africa is for blacks. The land and everything in it

  • Martin - 2012-03-06 09:04

    hey hey hey rags to wash stuff with

      jbukutu - 2012-03-06 17:05

      ...but you would have bought it! what you do with it is your business. Do you really think Gushungo and the young entrepreneurs selling this brand care?

  • Okkie Watson - 2012-03-08 12:31

    Haha! It explains a lot if they can't even sell that shyte in their own currency.

  • Kerry - 2012-03-09 14:17

    OK FOR THE LAST TIME f*&K OFF AND DIE ROBERT MUGABE - YOU SENILE PIECE OF CRAP! you let your people starve and your beautiful country go to rack and ruin i hate you futher mucker!

  • Steve - 2012-03-09 14:27

    what an idiot

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