Be the change you want to see

LONDON - Be the change you want to seeI always feel a bit narcissistic when I am to about to write about myself — a long time battle I have with the powers that be at the Daily News.

There is something about “Self”, that can lead you to a road of self-glorification.

The way I see it — if I am that grand to write about, someone else will approach me to do that.

  The last few weeks have been absolutely chock-a-block with work.

You may have noticed a change in writing style recently due to the fact that I roped in guest columnists to hold fort while I conquered the world!

The funny thing is when I speak about my alleged “superwoman shenanigans”, a lot of people, especially those close to me, do not understand why or how “just” a fashion accessory designer can get as busy as I do.

I have never asked them, but I can imagine they think all I do is sit in a studio beading up a necklace.

I often have to explain to my sisters, especially the younger one Rutendo, that my role in this big world of fashion extends beyond just sitting in the studio.

We often have these discussions where she insists I exaggerate about what I do.

  I understand where she is coming from though; it is the same place that I came from many years ago.

Fashion is still not seen, as a potential “job”.

In many countries even here in the West, on the drop down of a questionnaire, it is very rare to see “fashion” under occupation.

I am saying it is... and a very viable business too.

  Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss my work with the BBC in England.

Five minutes into the conversation, one of the producers wondered why they had not spoken to me before.

I can tell you that my sentiments are not at all unique in the African Fashion circles. It is a conversation that many echo on a day to day basis.

The only difference is while “we” talk about it, I have decided to go further and actually do something. There is the saying “if you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk’’.

In the past I have spoken about my grievance over the state of the African Fashion Industry, and how fashion is a multi-billion industry that can potentially solve several of Africa’s economic problems.

Well, I am still preaching that sermon. My research further highlights that if policy makers and African governments take into consideration the potential of fashion, we would be “singing all the way to the bank”!

This is the story which I am bringing before those assigned to look after our country.

Instead of looking at getting aid and funding, let us look at the possibility of getting investment and collaborations through fashion.

My frustrations turn towards the “China’s invasion” of our continent. I feel very violated whenever I think of how the Chinese have so cleverly “exploited” our continent with their cheap goods flooding the markets.

Our boarders have opened up to so much venom, which has penetrated our markets.

The thing here is we do not recognise the long-term damage that these “fraudulent expeditions’’ have on our economic growth.

I am saddened that we remain in colonial chains. The Chinese may not be the British, but their goal is the same. It comes wrapped up in a fake “Gucci T-shirt”, but as the T-shirt begins to lose its “designer” quality, it becomes apparent that fake will always remain fake.

Within my words allocated, I cannot even begin to tip the ice-berg of this whole issue.

I make luxury handbags yes, however, my conscience tells me that I am much more than a fashion designer.

I refuse to be self-indulgent. The ability to string two pieces of material will not make you a life changer.

My goal is to have as many fashion-led African industry people come together to fulfil the bigger picture.

Many associations of fashion this and that, have come and gone.

They have drawn up “aims and visions”, which have not seen the front door of their living room! I will tell you this — If your vision is led by the assumption that it will make you money, then that vision is destroyed before it even begins.

Focus on the work at hand and everything else shall come to pass.

I feel I should do a little preaching here.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you’’. This Bible verse works in every application of our life.

I will be talking more on my work as an advocate for African Fashion in the next few columns.

If you have a burning question, or simply want to catch up with me, my email is below. It is always a pleasure to hear from Daily News readers. Remember, you are the change you want to see.

*Pamela is a Zimbabwean fashion journalist and fashion accessory designer based in the United Kingdom. She can be contacted on

Comments (1)

I just want to simply say thank you for your article. Its so true. Something got to give.

Laura Nyahuye Sibanda - 21 July 2014

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