It’s my party and I’ll buy if I want to

2010-11-05 14:41

For the past two weeks, social networks and the media have been with abuzz with news of tycoon Kenny Kunene’s lavish R700 000 40th birthday party.

This shows that while most ­people are satisfied to have some decently mixed punch and a few close friends for a successful party, there’s another side to partyingonly experienced by the filthy rich and famous.

Most people only hear about these extravagant parties thrown by Hollywood A-listers, but there are many people in South Africa who don’t consider money an object when staging a good bash.

The occasion doesn’t necessarily have to be anything out of theordinary.

It can range from a birthday celebration to a wedding afterparty.

And more often than not, these parties last longer than just one day.

Event organiser Stephens ­Nkwana, who had a hand in Kunene’s party, says it doesn’t take much to organise such parties.

“You have to make sure, first and foremost, that the party is very exclusive and that the guest list is made up of only the rich elite.

“It’s not that they’ll have to spend money at the party, but rich people tend to stick together ­because they know nobody is ­trying to take advantage of them.”

He says the event should have only the best money can buy and the latest in premium products.

“If there’s a whisky or a ­champagne brand that the rich in the world rave about, you have to have it,” says Nkwana.

Farah Fortune, who owns African Star Communications and who ­organised Dudu Zuma’s 27th ­birthday party last year, adds: ­“Clients who are rich want to show that they can ­afford things.

“They like their liquor ­inaccessible to people, like Ace of Spades champagne and Nuvo sparkling liqueur, which are only ever seen at celebrity-studded events overseas. They want food that you can’t even pronounce.”

Fortune says that, like Kunene’s party, guests want to see something out of the ordinary, like the human food platters and ­models.

“The hotter and more foreign the model, the better.

That’s the reality of the parties. Every element is carefully selected to make sure the party caters for those with money to spend,” says Fortune.

It seems like 2010 was the year of the bling party, as celebrants tried their utmost to outdo each other.

It all began last year in May when, fresh after her father’s inauguration to the presidency, Dudu Zuma threw her birthday party at Inanda Club in Sandton. The price tag was R200 000.

The Arabian nights-themed party was held in a custom-made black marquee placed in the middle of the club’s lawns.
Each table had a hookah (hubbly bubbly), while plush black-and-red couches set off the theme.

Just in case you didn’t know whose party you attended, Dudu’s name was written in big bold ­letters on the bar, which was ­serving only premium whisky (nothing younger than 18 years old) and expensive champagne such as Moët & Chandon Nectar Imperial Rose and Veuve Clicquot.

The guest list included ANC Youth League heavyweights Julius Malema and Zizi Kodwa.

At the end of the night, Dudu gave female guests a colourful Arabic dress while the men received head scarves.

This year was opened in style by Durban-based businessman Sbu Mpisane and his wife, Shawn, when they hosted their annual all-white party on New Year’s Eve at their R15 million mansion in La Lucia, Durban North.

The businessman’s guests included police commissioner Bheki Cele and half the cast of Generations, such as Winnie Ntshaba, Dumisani Mbebe and Slindile Nodangala.

Even Ray Phiri of Stimela cracked a nod, as did Lamontville Golden Arrows boss Mato Madlala and Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse “Khula” Zuma.

There was champagne on tap and DJs to entertain guests while Khanyi Mbau had a chance to show off her then latest sugar ­daddy Theunis Crous. At the party, Mpisane also showed off his gift to himself, a black Rolls-Royce Ghost worth R10 million, with a ­personalised number plate.

Not long after that Kodwa, ­president Jacob Zuma’s ­spokesperson, threw his 40th birthday party, which lived up to the tag of “the mother of all parties”.

This took place at the popular, R46?000-to-hire club Taboo in ­Sandton.

However, he didn’t just have one celebration.

The second party took place ­during the same weekend on a Sunday afternoon at a picnic spot in Kyalami, where Durban kwaito superstars Big Nuz, L’vovo and DJ Tira performed. The other legs happened in Durban and Cape Town.

His guests included Mbau, Kwela Tebza, Sophie Ndaba, DJ Sbu, Tbo Touch, Fistaz Mixwell, Arthur Mafokate, Chomee, Malema, minister Fikile Mbalula and tycoons Fana Hlongwane and Mabheleni Ntuli.

Ntuli himself is no stranger to opulent parties as he is notorious for throwing must-attend parties prior to and during the
Durban July horse racing event.

The weekend starts with a ­“strictly per invite” preparty at the Absa Stadium on the eve featuring prominent DJs.

This is followed by the main ­party at the event held under his very own elaborately decorated marquee. Tycoons, A-list celebrities and fashion designers get to have whatever they feel like eating or drinking on tap, while being entertained by top DJs and musicians.

Not to be left behind, in March this year, Julius Malema celebrated his 29th birthday in his hometown of Polokwane by inviting 5?000 ­people to Seshego Stadium.

Gospel musicians Rebecca Malope, Solly Moholo and Winnie Mashaba sang for the masses – mostly an elderly audience.

However, at sunset Malema took 1 000 of his VIP guests – which included Kodwa, Limpopo MEC for local government and housing ­Soviet Lekganyane and Limpopo businessman Tom Boya – to Mekete Lodge just outside town for a ­decadent, champagne-filled ­afterparty.

The price tag for all of this was R440 000.

But no other tycoon in the ­country is yet to throw a party like Mpumalanga IT billionaire Robert Gumede, who spent a cool R50 million on his wedding in March this year.

Catering for 2 500 guests, Gumede kicked off the three-day affair by exchanging vows with his wife, Dr Portia Mkhize, at the Nelspruit Golf Club, where he once worked as a caddie.

Mkhize was delivered to the venue in a Rolls-Royce and wore a fitted Silk Duchess Gavin Rajah gown.

A normal Gavin Rajah dress costs no less than R15 000. The dress was made of fabric imported from Paris and had a 6m train decorated with hand-beaded roses.

There was the 100-strong ­KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic ­Orchestra – flown in for the ­occasion – who played Ave Maria as she walked down the aisle. Guests were served food in more than a dozen ­marquees.

This was followed by a gala ­dinner later that night.

The entertainment included an orchestra conducted by Grammy Award-winning Chinese artist ­Muhai Tang, and a performance by New York’s Juilliard School graduate Bongani Tembe and his wife, Linda Bukhosini.

The wedding cake was an eight-tier confection by boutique bakery Cake Bread.

Guests included Cele, TV ­personalities Gerry Rantseli, ­Basetsana and Romeo Kumalo, ANC top brass Mathews Phosa, Collins Chabane and South Africa’s UK High Commissioner, Zola Skweyiya, captains of industry such as Sandile Zungu, businessman Vivian Reddy, veteran singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Malema.

However, the icing on their proverbial cake was the fact that US R&B singer Kenny Lattimore was flown in with his entire
band and accommodated at Gumede’s cost.

So while the rest of the nation is up in arms about how the rich spend their riches for their ­personal celebrations, the fact is that these tycoons and ­businessmen have the means to bling, and clearly mean to continue flaunting it.

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