BULAWAYO - When one talks about modeling and fashion in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, the name Lungani Mkwebu comes up often.
The 25 year old male model has featured prominently at fashion and modeling events held in Bulawayo in recent years.
Mkwebu told the Daily News on Sunday that his love for art pushed him into art.
“I am a fun-loving, adventurous guy, who loves to live in the moment and has a deeper love for art not just fashion but literature, architecture, cinematography among other things.
“Through my love for art, I became a model which allowed me not just to appreciate art but be able to express it. I am a runway model hence I work with designers a lot and most of the times my job is to help express the designer's vision or the idea that inspired the collection and advertise the pieces,” he said.
Mkwebu never imagined he would end up a model as a youngster growing up in Nkulumane high density suburb in Bulawayo.
“I began modelling in August 2012. A female friend kept nagging me to join modelling but I was reluctant until one day when she literally dragged me to the Amanda Mutangadura -owned AM Model Management offices. Well, that walk-in into Amanda's office has turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made,” he remembered.
By joining AM Model Management, Mkwebu followed into the footsteps of top class models who include Corey Shultz, Elite Model Look Zim winner Fadzai Mvuti and Miss Bulawayo Mellissa Chaka who were nurtured by the popular organisation.
True to the predictions made by his friend when she introduced him to modelling, the 25 year old continues to flourish in the sector.
“I have done all local shows which include Intwasa Fashion show, IfestFashion, Matebeland Fashion Week.
“Regionally, I have taken part in the Durban Fashion Fair walking for Shadow by Sidumiso. I have worked with United States based Philipino designer John Ablaza but personally my biggest achievement so far was being featured in a Canadian magazine Intelegance in their cultural Identity section,” Mkwebu said.
Asked about how it feels to be part of the female-dominated profession (at least in Zimbabwe), Mkwebu had this to say:
“Well I thought the same before I got in but I later realised that it is actually not the case. There is almost equal demand for both ladies wear and menswear so we all have a fair chance,” he said.
Interestingly, Mkwebu is not keen on pageants.
“Pageants concentrate more on the model looks than the clothes,” he said.
Though the 25 year old is enjoying being a model, he has been frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the sector particularly in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.
“The few available gigs in Bulawayo are not lucrative. The local fashion industry lags behind the international market. However, in terms of fashion designing and the quality of runaway models, I think Bulawayo is a cut above the rest of the country,” said Mkwebu who is hoping to break into the South African modelling industry which offers more and better opportunities.