Social – From packed to deserted

2013-06-16 14:00

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Two events this week serve as lessons on how to draw a crowd (or not).

This has to count as one of the busiest weeks in the Jozi social calendar.

And, as is the case with such weeks, the party’s failure or success comes down to the popularity and clout of the organisers.

The two events featuring this week’s not-so-A-list American visitors are a case in point.

Monday night saw a throng of people packed into the trendy Urban Tree in Kramerville for the announcement of the upcoming Gauteng Sports Awards.

And when we say packed, we mean wall-to-wall bodies that made it virtually impossible for the waiters to carry their heaving trays of food at waist height.

There were sports presenters, businesspeople, celebrities – among them rapper Lil’ Mama and actor Lamman Rucker – and fans.

If you’re scratching your head trying to remember the above-mentioned celebs, let me put you out of your misery.

Lil’ Mama is a rapper, was a judge on America’s Best Dance Crew and will be portraying the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez of TLC fame in the group’s upcoming biopic.

Rucker is the sheriff who married Jill Scott’s character in the Why Did I Get Married films.

But Monday’s event was not about them.

Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Lebogang Maile was the man to listen to as he rattled off the names of the sports personalities who had made it on to the list in 14 categories.

The 15th category, Sport Personality of the Year, will be voted for by the public.

Idols SA diva Tshidi Tenyane, who spectacularly bombed out of the competition for her “Don’t jump on me” outburst to make way for the somewhat overrated Khaya Mthethwa, was the entertainment. Her soaring rendition of an India Arie song was proof of why this woman should have walked off with the title.

Bumped into the Orlando Pirates number one supporter, Joy Chauke, who had black and white face paint on.

She was loving her popularity and was like a seasoned pro when her fans asked to pose with her. I also had a groupie moment. Don’t judge.

Like I said, the event was packed, so in order to avoid a claustrophobia-triggered panic attack, I spent most of my time outside with the smokers.

The downside was not just the bone-chilling cold, but how the waiters refused to step beyond the glass doors to bring us food.

At least my intense hour-long chat with sports presenter Tshepo Mabona, about politics and the economy, nogal, distracted me from the fact that my fingers were so cold they needed to be pried off the glass of merlot.

The organiser, Linda Moeketsi, gets a B for the event.

The next night, we were off to The Venue at Melrose Arch for the launch of the iLead South Africa initiative fronted by Lil’ Mama, Rucker and MC Lyte.

The local leg of this initiative, which was started by the Thurgood Marshall College in the US and works with the youth through education, was what I would modestly call a monumental disaster.

I later heard that former Miss SA and local ambassador of the iLead initiative Bokang Montjane’s company organised it. I have no proof of this as even the emails were sent from a Gmail account.

If it is true, I’d also not be shouting it from the rooftops.

I felt sorry for the Americans, who were conservatively dressed in the black and white theme, as they received lacklustre responses from the almost nonexistent audience.

At least they got to watch a rendition of Sarafina! on stage, something that had us rolling our

eyes and wondering why the organisers had not just rented a DVD for them. Yawn!

Whoever put this shindig together gets an EF for Epic Fail!

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