Monday, May 19, 2008
April is the month which validated some of the work Tashanda has done so far. About a month and a half ago we submitted a photo of an Afrobag to the annual Handbag designer awards under the category “most socially responsible handbag” Well in the first week of April I received a call from Emily Blumenthal, who is the creator of the website Handbag Designer 101 (http://www.handbagdesigner101.com/handbags) to personally tell me that were one of top five finalists in the competition which had in excess of 600 applicants. Now I understand what it means to be nominated for an Oscar. You can laugh but I’m serious. When you see those celebrities on TV saying “it just means so much to be nominated, it doesn’t matter if I don’t win…..” Well finally I can believe that they are telling the truth. Winning is less important to me than the recognition and publicity this event has brought with it. Tashanda was interviewed by the New York Daily News and two e-zines have done a special on our work. It’s been great!
Immediately after talking to Emily I called Zimbabwe and asked that the message be passed on to Max and Maki, the makers of the hand bags. On a personal level, the nomination also went beyond Max and Maki. To me it was an affirmation of something I have always known – that Zimbabwe isn’t just a nation of inflation and political uncertainty and food shortages. It’s a nation of people with real talent, real skills, determination and ability. It’s a country of entrepreneurs which like many other African nations are not yet being recognized enough for their talents. My next move was to e-mail all the Zimbabweans and other friends on the Facebook network who had supported Tashanda to promote the Afrobag brand. Everyone was excited. You just don’t know how good it felt to hear so good and honest news about something originating from Zimbabwe. Tashanda has just scratched the surface. We expect to go way beyond what we have done so far, and even move into other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. Well done Zimbabwe, well done!!
Aside from that not much else has happened. I travelled to Belgium and London for 2 weeks of the month, so activity was somewhat lessened. However as promised in November 2007, I will continue my stories about my visit to Zimbabwe and all the artisans I met when I was there. My next blog will be about Silveria House which is a place where an assorted range of artisans work. I’ll introduce them one by one and give them a voice to speak about their work. Thanks for all your love and support!