Sartorial splendour: Minister Rwodzi champions national dress as emblem of unity

Sipepisiwe Moyo, [email protected]

Young Women for Economic Development (YW4ED), a women empowerment-oriented organisation brought a burst of colour to the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel over the weekend as they celebrated the National Dress, showcasing a myriad of hues and exquisite designs. 

The event, aptly named “The Night of the National Fabric”, saw attendees, including dignitaries, adorned either entirely in outfits crafted from the fabric or incorporating its distinctive touch. Some wore shades of yellow, while others opted for green. 

Chief inspector Precious Simango

Models strutted the runway, and performers graced the stage in traditional dances, all clad in attire fashioned from the national fabric.

Among the guests was Barbara Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, who passionately encouraged the public to embrace the national fabric. She underscored its pivotal role in defining the unique essence of Zimbabwean identity. 

“We’re gathered here in Bulawayo to advance President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s vision. Everything we do – be it in government, private sector, associations, pressure groups, women, men, or youth – is in support and alignment with our President’s vision. “Our Zimbabwean national fabric, adorned with our beloved Zimbabwe bird emblem, symbolises our national identity. This transcends partisan lines; it speaks to every Zimbabwean. It’s not just for certain individuals; it’s for everyone, as it embodies our national pride,” stated Minister Rwodzi on Saturday.

Radio personality Babongile Sikhonjwa (left), Chief inspector Precious Simango and Sipho Mazibuko

She added: “When I’m dressed like I am tonight, adorned in our national fabric, I exude confidence and pride. I proudly showcase what Zimbabwe represents and I receive compliments. Preserving our culture and heritage is paramount, as it is the cornerstone of our economy.”

In recognition of First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa’s fervent advocacy for the widespread adoption of the fabric, Minister Rwodzi commended the Young Women for ED, for seamlessly integrating the national fabric into their fundraising endeavours. 

She further underscored the significance of the cook-out programme initiated by the First Lady, which prioritises indigenous cuisine.

“You cannot fully embrace your Ndebele, Shona, or Tonga heritage without understanding your traditional cuisine. Food is intricately intertwined with our identity; it speaks volumes about our origins, culture and ancestry. It’s through our culinary heritage that we truly connect with our roots and garner recognition,” she stressed.

Minister of Information Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services Tatenda Mavetera (centre), Minister Barbara Rwodzi (left) and Sandra Ndebele YW4ED Bulawayo chapter chairlady

In addition, Minister Rwodzi urged the youth to steer clear of drugs, echoing the First Lady’s plea for safeguarding Zimbabwean identity and values.

“Young women and men, abstain from drugs. By doing so, you preserve your uniqueness and uphold Zimbabwean values. Let’s showcase our pride in our nation by embracing our national fabric in all facets of life – be it in corporate settings, churches, or social gatherings. It’s a symbol of our nation, our province, and our pride,” concluded Minister Rwodzi.

Sipho Mazibuko and guests

The National Dress was inaugurated by the President in 2020 in response to a resounding call for a unifying symbol of the nation’s identity. Amai Mnangagwa led the quest for the National Dress, initiating extensive consultations with diverse stakeholders and representatives from all provinces, aimed at capturing the essence of Zimbabwe’s rich cultural tapestry.

The National Dress fabric is embellished with iconic symbols including the Zimbabwe bird and Chevron pattern. Conveniently, it is now accessible at all Zimbabwe Tourism Authority offices across the nation, available at an affordable price.



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