On the 28th September, Gone Rural turned 20. We planned to celebrate in style with a gala evening of food and entertainment, centred around the “Rural Afro Chic” theme….. whatever that means. I had, somehow, managed to avoid the weeks of chaos leading up to the event and I even had a fantastic outfit arranged, so all was looking good. Two days prior to the event, I was thrust into the thick of preparations. That I could handle. Two hours before the event, my outfit fell through. This was a little harder to deal with given it was 3pm on a Friday afternoon. Fortunately, working with a bunch of designers means that there is an abundance of designer outfits lying around and so, with an hour to spare, I had managed to rustle myself into something less than shabby. It even involved high heels – desperate times call for desperate measures.
The evening was a huge success (assuming we ignore the craziness that ensued behind the scenes). House on Fire was decorated with an array of Gone Rural centrepieces, with other Gone Rural items being contorted into fashion accessories. The venue resembled a UN convention with the who’s who of Swaziland in attendance, including the Deputy Prime Minister, American Ambassador and other big wigs. Throughout the evening, the 20 year history of Gone Rural was celebrated through prose, with each of our networks woven together on a massive installation piece that formed the background to the evening. Yours truly even got a mention as an “expert” – I didn’t have the heart, nor did I want to relinquish my 5 seconds of fame, by breaking the truth to them. Sensational pieces were auctioned off, including Jabu’s amazing one-of-a-kind piece that took 20 days to weave. We got to fill out tummies with a delicious twist to traditional food, including warthog on the spit and spiced putfu. Finally, we got to dance until the wee hours of the morning. Not a bad birthday bash, if I do say so myself.