Saturday, 9 March 2013

Happy International Women's Day 2013 from Uganda (there was even a motorbike).

Ugandan designer Stella Atal broke fashion boundaries with her models who were smeared in body paint and adorned with paper beads.

A belated Happy International Women's Day from Uganda.

What a day! After working on the organising committee over the past few months  in the lead-up to the events at the Kampala Sheraton yesterday with some amazing females (who worked much harder), Sarah Bernabe, Petra Behnsen, Sophia Klumpp, Pam Reynell  and Kelsey Hoppe, I'm now feeling post-Women's Day Depression. It's the same sort of feeling you have when you realise Christmas, Easter, your birthday etc is over for another year. Whatever will you lot do with your Wednesday mornings again?

Getting ready to walk the catwalk (ie around the Kampala Sheraton fountain).

When I look back now the day, at least for me, represented and featured women who are breaking the bounds in Uganda in all walks of life, whether they're Uganda's female kickboxers getting ready for their next challenge, ladies from the Strawbags partnership of entrepreneurs crafting earrings from just that or a mzungu (white person) such as the British High Commissioner to Uganda Alison Blackburne talking once being told she wouldn't make it in her chosen field because she was a female. 

Collectively, all the women and organisations who took part broke a big boundaries too, as the day we've been told was the biggest and best International Women's Day held in Kampala since they started being organised independently four years ago, we've been told. Those who are in the know say the fashion parade, which ended the day, was THE BEST FASHION SHOW HELD IN UGANDA EVER! (See pics below).

The hot-looking crowd who watched the Independent Woman fashion parade.

I have so many favourite parts of the day that I can't pick an overall favourite, but some of my personal highlights were:

* Seeing the wonderful AFRIPads being honoured as the day's chosen organisation after all their hard work and share a stall with the equally wonderful Shanti Uganda.

Two amazing organisations helping women in Uganda.

* Watching models be smeared in body paint then adorned with paper beads by designer Stella Atal and assistants in the lead-up to the catwalk show. Those who took part were Fashion Rising, Claire Tendo, Em Design, Mazan, Lulu, Stella Atal, Isabella Isabeau, Zion, Original by Layla Shaw, Juliana Okori, Teddy, IWD collaboration Collection and more than 30 professional models, who volunteered their time.

The 2013 Kampala Sheraton IWD logo.

Foxy. Uganda's female kickboxers.

So clever. Earrings made from straw bags.

* Getting to try out the latest product in Uganda: the paper bead massager, courtesy of Uganda Innovation Factory. (What else would it be?)

* Seeing some of the different looks on display thanks to all the beautiful Ugandan women who attended and trying to chase after them all with my camera.

One a-mazing plait on display.

A highlight of IWD 2013 for me was getting to try out the new paper bead massager.

* Watching the wonderful Uganda 50 years mural being painted.

Guess what colour ring I bought?*

* Buying a paper bead ring from 4Africa. You'll have to operate to get it off.

I LOVE Ugandan fashion

* Seeing some wonderful art courtesy of 32ยบ East .

* Marvelling at all the wonderful hairstyles on display.

 * Seeing that the boys scrubbed up just as well as the girls (or for the girls?), hey Destreet Art?.

* Running into two amazing Australian women (one whom I'd been in email contact with for quite a while but had never met in person) doing some amazing things in Uganda.

Destreet Art

* Watching some of the great performers including poet Ife Piankhi.

* Laughing at the hilarious MC, stand-up comedian Cotilda.

Hey, there's two Aussies in this crowd!

Here's of my fave looks from the fashion parade: **

Some Japanese-inspired fashion was on display during the fashion parade, which ended the day.

International Women's Day is a day to celebrate all women - and that includes the boundary-breaking female boda driver/s of Uganda (well, this is also a boda blog). In the lead-up to last year's IWD The Daily Monitor published a photo of a female boda driver carrying passengers in Natooke, Butambala District . They later ran this story on Gulu rider Diana Aber, 25.

When I first thought about doing a post for IWD 2013, of course I had wanted to speak to one of the lady drivers. Former mzungu in Uganda Nigel Ball also mentions them in the brilliant guest post he's kindly written for this blog (coming up next).

Unfortunately I didn't have time to track a driver down, but you'll be pleased to know I'm working on this. I was deliriously happy however to see this hot bike, being ridden by a just as hot Ugandan woman, in last night's fashion parade though. I leave you with this image.

Yes, Ugandan women can ride!


**oh there was something else I left out that was great - the post-IWD 2013 celebrations at The Camel Club.

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