The Sunday Mail
Wendy Nyakurerwa – Assistant Editor
Nothing beats a gold and white theme. It speaks to sophistication.
“Happy Birthday Amai”, “Amazing Grace,” the banners said.
Yesterday was Dr Amai’s show. And what a show it was!
The colour, the song, the dance, the tuxedos and the evening gowns were all anyone needed to witness to know that this was no ordinary party.
First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe turned 50 on July 23 and a fundraising dinner in her honour was held last night at the First Family’s Blue Roof residence in Borrowdale, Harare.
And as it turned out, the mega celebrations were a joint celebration because Bellarmine Chatunga, President and Amai Mugabe’s last born son, recently turned 18-years-old.
The organising team, chaired by Mr Rodney Dangarembizi and Portia Marufu delivered what needed to be delivered.
From arrival there were no parking problems, and on entering the marquee the tables were superbly laid. With sumptuous gastronomic delights too.
This is what 2 000 guests were treated to at Blue Roof last night.
Some of these guest came from as far as the Congo (Minister Piere Mara) and Equatorial Guinea, and they wined and dined with Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mngangagwa and Pelekezela Mphoko and their wives, Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Cabinet ministers, service chiefs, traditional leaders, MPs, businesspersons and many other people.
The stark blacks and crisp whites of male guests competed – perhaps unfairly for the gents – with the shimmering evening gowns the ladies adorned themselves with, each little detail speaking of a day to remember.
The flower arrangements, the exquisite golden menus and the classy two-tier birthday cake spoke of a mother well and truly appreciated.
The show really got off around 6pm when the birthday “girl” – adorned in a stunning red gown – waltzed sedately into the venue with her husband, a man nothing less than a Head of State and Government.
With them were Mr Simba Chikore and his wife Mrs Bona Mugabe-Chikore, as well as Mr Robert Mugabe Jr and Mr Bellarmine Chatunga Mugabe.
The Air Force of Zimbabwe band did justice to this grand entrance as the guests stood in honour.
As the First Family took their seats, it became apparent that one key member of the entourage was missing.
And he made it known to all as Tom, the First Lady’s pet dog, wagged his way in and joined the party.
Who says a dog is only man’s best friend?
The First Lady is said to love her pet like any other genuine dog-owner does, and she could be heard saying with the indulgence as the canine took “it’s place”: “Anonetsa uyu.”
Mrs Mugabe-Chikore tried, without success, to coax Tom out of the tent.
There is always something wholesome about seeing power families away from the somewhat choreographed setting of the political stage.
It makes one realise that at the end of the day we are all the same, all Zimbabweans.
Which is why everyone wanted to join Amai Mugabe on the dance floor, where she showed that she had a step or two in those well-heeled shoes.
But in case anyone was mistaken into thinking that the First Couple does not have much more on its plate than hosting a key birthday at its private residence, the guests – in their speeches – were there to remind the nation that on these shoulders many responsibilities lay.
Water, Environment and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri congratulated Amai Mugabe on her Golden Jubilee, saying the nation was blessed to have her as a mother.
“In the little time that we have worked with Amai, we have seen a lot of programmes getting off the ground and yielding results. We are proud of her and we are very we choose her to represent us as women.”
Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said that the First Lady always put other people first as seen by her charity work.
The First Lady runs a children’s home in Mazowe and is patron of several charities, among them Danhiko Trust, Aids Councelling Trust, Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health and Musha Mukadzi Zimbabwe Armed Forces Trust.
Proceeds from the fund raising dinner will be channeled towards charity organisations.
“All these people have come to support her because she has proved she is a true mother of the nation,” Cde Munghinguri-Kashiri said.
Sulumani Chimbetu, Dr Tawanda, Oliver Mtukudzi, Zimpraise and South Africa’s Benjamin Dube, in between the speeches and the admirable emceeing, kept things moving with their music.
Sulu seized the opportunity on stage to wish Amai Mugabe a happy birthday, adding: “Dai Mwari akuwedzerai makore akawanda. We love you and tinokutendai nerudo rwenyu sema youth.”