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2011-02-16: Joburg Fashion Week to celebrate the life of Pres Nelson Mandela

THE City of Johannesburg has given special dispensation to over 90 local and international models participating in the annual African Fashion Week to pay tribute to the 92-year old father of South African democracy to ply their trade on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge from Saturday 2pm to Sunday 2am.

Event organisers approached Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC) who are co-sponsors of the Fashion Week, to assist them in getting special permission to use the backdrop of the Mandela Bridge.

"The event not only attracts some of the biggest names in the global fashion industry but also opens the window of the world to our city through international media teams covering this event," says City Manager Mavela Dlamini confirming this unusual dispensation.

The Bridge, named after Johannesburg's most famous resident, will attract the biggest attention as part of it become a 284 metre open air runway for models who will display the creations of top South African designer, David Tlale.

"This is a great opportunity to show the beauty and diversity of Johannesburg to a wide and diverse audience and also make Johannesburg proud to assist the event organisers in celebrating the life and achievements of former President Nelson Mandela," says Events Director of the City, Bongi Mokaba.

Mokaba adds: The City has a strong reputation and track record in hosting major local and international events free of incidents. "This will further enhance the city's reputation as a host of quality international events and a magnet for creativity, talent and new ideas".

The City's support for the creative industries is demonstrated by its plans to revive a dedicated Fashion District in the eastern part of the central business district (CBD) and Joburg being a truly African fashion mecca.

A prominent feature of this year's Fashion Week is the way that prominent buildings and landmarks across the City are being used as venues and the background for designers to display their collections. In addition to the Nelson Mandela Bridge events, other activities are also staged at venues such as:
The Johannesburg Art Gallery as one of the oldest galleries in the City
The Bus Factory in Newtown which also serves as headquarters of the JDA;
The historic Rand Club in downtown, first built in 1887 and refurbished after a fire in 2005;
Mokaba says the city is also encouraged by the way in which the collections of up-and-coming new designers are brought in the fashion mainstream together with the work of some of the bigger names in the industry.

Some of the shows will feature designs from students at the University of Johannesburg and Sew Africa, a training centre established in the CBD to train students in all aspects of the garment industry.

As part of the Inner City regeneration the City redeveloped the fashion district and the Fashion Kapitol which was launched last night as the opening of the Joburg Fashion Week. "We see this week as an investment in young talent who will, hopefully, make their mark in the future and confirm Johannesburg's reputation as an incubator of creativity," she says.

The media contingent that will converge on the Mandela bridge includes the Vanity Fair, French and Italian Vogue, BBC, CNN, Forbes and French Elle to name a few.

Additional benefits for the city in this event include showcasing the City's flexibility in allowing multiple usage of existing facilities and open spaces; promoting Joburg as a business and events destination and emphasizing the creative minds in the broader arts industry as well as fashion and film based in Joburg; showcasing the Joburg brand to the world on the collateral to be produced for the event; and, from this, millions of rand will be gained through the international and local media coverage of the event.

This event also has its own economic spin off for the City as jobs even on temporary basis would be created to the benefit of the locals.

The Nelson Mandela Bridge carries heavy traffic connecting Braamfontein with the rest of the inner city and special arrangements will be put in place by the JMPD and Emergency Management Services (EMS) to facilitate the event.


For further enquiries:
Gabu Tugwana
Communication Director
Contact: 011 407 7162 or 0824955673

Issued by:
Nthatisi Modingoane
Deputy Director: Communications
Tel: (011) 407 7354
Fax: 403 3494
Cell: 082 467 9228