The Awudis — Graham and Irene — are not your everyday couple.
Whereas it might be wrong to describe them as poor, they are one couple that has never been known to flaunt their wealth, or make their presence known in society.
So when the invitation to join the couple in celebrating Irene’s 50th birthday celebrations arrived, it was a chance not to miss, not so much for the wining and dining, but to get an insight into probably one of Harare’s most reclusive rich couples.
And for good measure the celebrations had to be taken away from the glare and attention of Harare, into the hinterlands of Nyazura.
“We wanted it to be an intimate family affair,” was the official line.
I got to know Graham over a decade ago, 2009 to be precise, when he was running Pamuzinda Highway Xscape, the outdoor entertainment venue. Then Pamuzinda was a hive of activity, especially during weekends when it became the home of old school music.
After differing with the owners of Pamuzinda over rentals, the Awudis went into a lull, a lull which many might have mistaken for a dip in financial fortunes.
“Not exactly,” assured Graham last week at the sidelines of his wife’s birthday party.
“We have big plans and we will be coming back onto the entertainment scene soon, and the package that we are putting together will be more than what we used to do at Pamuzinda.”
In all the speeches that were made last Saturday afternoon, speaker after speaker talked of the love between the couple, with Graham saying what they have achieved is because of lrene’s stamina and drive.
But who exactly is the birthday girl?
After being born on September 27, 1967 at Rutsanana Clinic in Highfield, Irene went on to do her primary education at Kudzanai before going to Kwenda Mission for secondary education.
Upon completion, she became a temporary teacher for a brief period.
Then the entrepreneurship bug hit.
“I started going to Mozambique, buying and selling bed sheets. The early days were difficult but I persevered and the ideas I learnt from those days inspired me to open our clothing factory. Now we are supplying a number of corporates with protective clothing, our main line of business today.”
The clothing factory was opened in part as a tribute to her late mother, Regina, who was an avid tailor.
“Besides the inspiring experiences I gained from my bed-sheet selling days, the factory was partly inspired by my mother who was a tailor.”
Joined in holy matrimony on May 26 2006, the Awudis have been blessed with five children — one girl and four boys.
But the surprise for the celebrations was saved for last.
“As we round off the eats and drinks, I would like to give my wife a small token of appreciation for all the love and support that she has given me over the years.”
Thus the “small token” of a Mercedes Benz GLS350d was unveiled.
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