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Meet the Zimbabwean designer who hopes to rival Gucci

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FASHION DESIGNER Yvonne Yvette wants to one day rival Gucci. She spoke to The Voice about quitting her day job to pursue her passion, Africa’s influence on her collection and why she wants to empower women through fashion…
The daughter of shopkeeper and a seamstress, some may say it’s no surprise that Yvonne Yvette became a successful fashion business owner. But despite her undeniable skills, she wasn’t initially sure that design was something she could make a living out of.
“Everything that I’m doing is self taught, I’ve never been to a fashion designing class, so I’m learning as I’m going,” she said.
The fashion designer’s passion for clothes stemmed from childhood and was clear to her loved ones later on it life too. “My partner always says to me I look good, and when he first met me he could tell I knew what to wear.
“When I was young I wanted to dress up and wanted to make sure whatever I wore would make sense. When I started it as a hobby I thought I was good at it why don’t I try to see where I am and then I just started making them and it came to me very easily. I started wearing them for myself and I got compliments from people, from my friends and family and they had make clothes for them.”
It wasn’t until Yvette began making clothes for other people that she realised she could make money from what started as a hobby. “I thought to myself I’m actually wasting time making stuff for free and I started charging and they were like you undercharge because you’re not confident.”
The accounting and information systems graduate and former banker juggled her side hustle with her full-time job but she has no complaints. “I even think that when I started I enjoyed it so much that I stopped going out, I was so excited.”
Eventually the time came when Yvette packed in her day job to pursue fashion design full-time. “I was working for someone and it’s one of those things where you’re going to work and keep doing the same things over and over again.
“Working for yourself, you have the freedom to do your own thing and I can work on a dress overnight and if I get an idea late at night I go into my work room and try and create it. I’m enjoying my work, so it doesn’t feel like I’m working.”
Yvette’s country of birth and the place where she grew up, Zimbabwe, and the country she now calls home, England, have both had a huge impact on her designs. “With my family we’ve always been a modern family…we were younger we could wear trousers, and I know some of my friends weren’t allowed.
“I think Africa is a bit behind on fashion compared to Europe, so moving from my home to here I realised there was a lot more you could do here.
“Coming here did make a big difference to my life.”
Since the birth of her eponymous company in 2014, the talented designer has received a number of awards for her work including North West UK Best Fashion Designer award and a BAWR award. She’s also been nominated for a Women4Africa award. She said the recognition “solidified” what she was doing.
Yvette’s clothes have also been worn by models and clients across the world but the reality of how well her creations have been received is still sinking in. “I still don’t believe it, I couldn’t believe that actually my work has gone to America and Australia…I’m hoping I can go even further and compete with Gucci, who knows. I don’t want to limit myself.”
Her latest work, “Kiss” ready-to-wear collection 2018, will be on sale from July and it’s a manifestation of her aim to “liberate” women through clothes. “I think in this day and age women should be allowed to decide what they want to wear and when, without being subject to cultural beliefs.
“Women face a lot of challenges because of social beliefs within our culture (African culture) whereby they can’t be themselves or wear what they want without being objectified. This collection is about encouraging women to stand for themselves, have a choice in society; about what they wear and above all self-love. I want women to feel good about themselves with this collection no matter, what size, colour and where they come from.”

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People & Lifestyle

‘Black Panther’ star fronts new Reebok campaign

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BLACK PANTHER and The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira joins model Gigi Hadid, singer Ariana Grande and Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot in a new campaign for sportswear bran Reebok that celebrates strong-voiced females who inspire others to act and drive change.
The campaign aims to celebrate strong female voices who inspire others to act and drive change. Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel, Yelda Ali (founder of Camel Assembly); athletes Katrin Davidsdottir, Reese Scott and Jenny Gaither (founder and CEO of Movemeant Foundation); and Shannon Kim Wagner (founder of the Women’s Strength Coalition) also star in the campaign.
Each woman is photographed alongside quotes that project inspiring words from each star. For their respected portraits, each share their own personal story of overcoming barriers to become their best selves.
“Reebok has a long history of empowering women and supporting those who empower others,” Reebok VP marketing Melanie Boulden said in a statement. “We did this back in the 1980s, when the brand helped usher in a new fitness movement, led by women, that changed culture and made it OK for women to sweat and have muscles.

“We are still at it today, developing innovative product for women, by women, and encouraging females to experience the physical, mental and social transformation that happens when we move — the essence of our Be More Human philosophy.”
In the campaign, Reebok has also partnered with the Movement Foundation and The Women’s Strength Coalition to support women who work at the grassroots level to support organisations aimed to empower women.
Reebok will also release 10 limited-edition shirts, one for each woman featured in the campaign. From now until Dec. 31, proceeds from the shirt sales will be distributed equally among the organizations.
Consumers who want to participate in other ways can also “donate in sweat” by posting a photograph of themselves working out on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #BeMoreHuman. For each photo posted, Reebok will make a donation to the non-profits at a limit of 2,500 posts.

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Koffi Olomide ‘not banned from Zambia’

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Police and government authorities in Zambia have cleared Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomide to perform in the country next weekend, contrary to media reports earlier in the week that the singer would be arrested on arrival.
It follows allegations published in the state-owned Times of Zambia newspaper that he assaulted a photojournalist in Zambia during a previous tour.
He has also been accused of sexually assaulting his dancers, kidnapping them and employing them without valid permits in France.
The article prompted the 62-year-old to hire lawyers to talk to the authorities to clear his name.
Now Zambia police spokesperson Esther Katongo says Mr Olomide is free to enter Zambia.
She says there is no international arrest warrant for him from Interpol, no criminal record in Zambia, and says “an assault case that was reported at Lusaka Division by a journalist was closed due to lack of evidence”.
The rhumba star is not new to controversy. In 2016, he was caught on camera kicking his female dancer on arrival in Kenya. He was swiftly deported.
In 2012, he was convicted in the Democratic Republic of Congo of assaulting his producer, resulting in a three-month suspended prison sentence.
The altercation with his producer was over a debt of about $3,700 (£2,800), the court heard.
In 2008, he was accused of kicking a cameraman from DR Congo’s private RTGA television station and breaking his camera at a concert in the capital, Kinshasa, following a disagreement over recording rights.
In the end, the speaker of the national assembly stepped in to resolve the dispute, brokering a reconciliation between the star and owner of the TV station.

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Wakanda forever! ‘Black Panther’ spin off comic in the works written by Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor

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shuri-comic

MARVEL are  working on a spin-off comic following the success of Black Panther – and the focus will all be on fan-favourite character, Shuri.
Black Panther was listed as the 10th-highest box office earner of all time, making $1.2bn (£916m), Forbes reported in April.
According to BBC, the series will be based on T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, a character played by Guyanese-British actress Letitia Wright.

The new series will be written by Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor, who penned the digital comic series Black Panther: Long Live the King for Marvel, and drawn by Leonardo Romero.
“Shuri is an African young woman of genius level intelligence who is obsessed with technology and has travelled spiritually so far into the past that she’s seen Wakanda before it was Wakanda.
“The Ancestors call her Ancient Future. And she’s super ambitious. What do I love about her? All that and more,” Okorafor is quoted as saying.
Marvel expects to release the series in October.

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German woman blocked by Facebook for detailing racist abuse

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A BLACK German woman has created an anti-racism blog after Facebook removed her for a revealing description of racial abuse she suffered in Austria.
According to BBC, Imoan Kinshasa says youths insulted her with the “N-word” and people stared at her when she wore a traditional dirndl dress at a wine festival near Vienna.
Facebook censored her post because she repeatedly used the offensive term which was aimed directly at her.
In her blog (in German) she posted the message from Facebook explaining that her original post had violated the social networking site’s community standards. It says the block is active for three days.
She wrote that no sooner had she arrived in Traiskirchen with some friends that a group of boys insulted her, using the N-word.
Speaking to the BBC, Kinshasa said she was aware of “everyday racism” not only in Austria, but also in Bavaria.
“Basically it’s the same, because Bavaria and Austria are very similar – there’s not a big difference when it comes to racism.”
“I want to share others’ stories – I got a tonne of stories from others about racism.”
By publicising the experiences of other racism victims, she said, “we can show that we are all human and have feelings, and it hurts”.
Kinshasa grew up in Bavaria and says she loves the dirndl. “Whatever I wear, people stare at me,” she complained.
The 25-year-old IT professional who now lives in Vienna said the level of racism is not as bad there as in small-town Austria.
Austria now has an anti-immigration government, which includes the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). And German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a hardliner on immigration, was previously Bavarian prime minister.

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VP Prof. Osinbajo’s Sweet Message to Wife Dolapo on Her Birthday

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo celebrated his wife Dolapo’s birthday today.
He used this sweet words on his Twitter handle to send lovely message to her.
“I found a girl, beautiful and sweet many years ago. I got to know you and you became Queen of my heart.
You are my past, my present and my future. You complete me!
You are as beautiful as the day I met you.
Happy Birthday Oludolapo, your heart is my home.”

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June Sarpong MBE hosts glittering celebration of women

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ON THURSDAY (Jul 12), host and author of Diversify, June Sarpong MBE hosted the Rising Star 2018 winners’ celebration, amongst an audience of some of the UK’s most influential female business leaders.
Speaking about hosting the awards, Sarpong said: “2018 has been dubbed the ‘year of the women’ and has very much thrown gender and diversity into the public consciousness – the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, gender pay gap reporting, and marking 100 years of women’s suffrage.
“Despite all that has been achieved since the Suffragettes’ won the vote, more still needs to be done to reach gender parity. Awards such as these are incredibly important – and needed – to continue to raise women’s platforms and showcase how talented the female population is. I’m extremely proud to support the 2018 Rising Star Awards and look forward to meeting the amazing and inspiring women, who are flying the flag for womankind.”
On Monday 18 June, WeAreTheCity announced the winners of the 2018 Rising Star Awards. You can view the full list of winners’ here.
Now in its fourth year, the Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.

Images from the WATC Rising Stars Awards at News UK 12 July 2018

 

Alongside the Rising Star categories and Rising Star Champion award, we are also pleased to announce the winners of the Company of the Year award. This award recognises the achievements of a company who can clearly demonstrate that they are actively supporting its female talent pipeline through their initiatives, training, development programmes and internal employee relations and diversity network groups.
The awards were entered by 1,250 individuals and were judged by a panel of 54 independent judges. Over 35,000 public votes were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees.
The awards were kindly sponsored by The Times & The Sunday Times and supported by 3M, Accenture, Aon, Barclays, Bloomberg, Cancer Research UK, CMI Women, Edit Development, EPAA, Jessica Huie Public Relations (JHPR), Jobbio, Kier, Lloyds Banking Group, Lloyd’s, Northern Trust, PedalSure, Reed Smith, Royal Navy, SAGE and Sodexo.

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Anambra receives Miss Africa

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The Governor of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano received the Anambra born Miss Africa world Queen Uche Umeagukwu in Awka, the state capital.

The Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism Mrs Sally Mbanefo while giving a welcome address described Anambra State as a hub of tourism stating that this is why the present administration is doing everything possible to develop all its tourism centers to meet international standards.

Mrs Mbanefo said that a successful partnership with Diaspora investors will help push the industry to an international audience.

The Commissioner urged Ndi Anambra in Diaspora to partner with the state government in her drive to tap and market the tourism potentials in the state.
She emphasised that the Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu lake which is in the final phase of furnishing and Owerre Ezukala caves and waterfalls that is now under construction to help upgrade and create easier access to tourist, are few of the projects being prioritised by the present administration to kick starts its unparallel boost of tourism industry in the state.

Queen Umeagukwu, an indigene of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area is the reigning Queen of Miss Africa world beauty peg entry based in California and a champion of the campaign to grant ‘’out of school children access to education.
Responding to the occasion, Queen Uche thanked the Anambra State government for the honour given to her stated that the youths must claim their place in moving the state forward especially in the area of marketing the state’s tourism and cultural potentials.
She further added that she has used her position as the Queen to attract a Japan based investor to the state as part of her pet project is to feed the hungry children in the state.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Youth Empowerment and creative Economy Mr Bonaventure Enemali welcomed the Queen on behalf of all the Anambra youth, who called on the youth in the state to maximize the opportunity giving to them by the Obiano administration to accomplish their potentials.

The permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Tony Ezenwaka giving a vote of thanks expressed joy over the Queen’s victory, stating that her victory is a representation of the aspiration of every Igboman to have freedom to exercise their right and privileges.
He further added that by her victory that she has automatically become the state Ambassador on Culture, Tourism and Diaspora.

The highpoints of the reception was the presentation of awards recognition to the Queen, for Ndi Anambra in California and the mayor of the city of Los Angeles, as well as cultural dance display by Ate.

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People & Lifestyle

Racist tweets surface from father of the McClure twins

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THE FATHER of the McClure twins has landed himself in hot water after racist tweets have resurfaced on social media.
Justin McClure shares mixed race twin daughters with his Nigerian wife, Ami Dunn McClure, and together the couple has risen to fame by posting amusing videos of Ava and Alexa to their 998,121 subscribers on YouTube.
Justin’s tweets that were made back in 2011, have been deleted from the family Twitter page, however, the screenshots remained.

McClure has since apologised for what was tweeted before he met his wife and blamed the remarks on his comedic career in addition to being a “womanizer” and “drunk”.
On the family channel, Justin alongside his wife and 7-month-old son said: “These tweets were jokes I did about race, I did about gender, about where I’m from in the south, that’s what I thought was funny at the time.”
McClure said the tweets were no longer a reflection of his humour recalling that he was a “very insecure person” but “years of therapy, years of sobriety” have helped change his life.
Meanwhile, wife Ami appeared to stand strongly by her man as she said: “What I dislike is people always brandishing things as racist were they bad jokes? Absolutely, but is he racist? I mean, really?”
As the pair concluded the post, Justin said: “I will not be responding to any comments or tweets but my wife will if you have something to say about it.”

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Celebrities Launch PVC Citizen Movement

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With barely 225 days to the 2019 general elections, some Nigerian celebrities have launched a PVC citizen movement.

The campaign which is initiated by celebrities like music mogul, don jazzy, award winning singer, Davido, rapper Falz and many others is aimed at getting Nigerian youths involved in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
Young Nigerians are to be educated on the importance of exercising their civil obligation as well as creating a new and better Nigeria.
As part of the movement, actor Alex Ekubo, Ik Ogbonna and Yomi Casual have invented a fun way to carryout the campaign as they have invited their fans out on a meet, greet and permanent voter’s card (PVC) registration spree.

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Facebook boss Zuckerberg now world’s third richest

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the third richest man in the world, overtaking Warren Buffett on Bloomberg’s list of the world’s richest people.
Zuckerberg passed Buffett Friday as Facebook shares rose 2.4 percent, Bloomberg reported.
Above Zuckerberg were Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in the No. 1 spot, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
The daily rankings of the world’s 500 richest people listed in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index showed the top 3 remained the same Saturday.
Zuckerberg is now worth $81.6 billion, nearly $400 million more than Buffett, chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway investment group, rankings show.
Zuckerberg’s California-based social network business has more than 2 billion active monthly users.
The company’s stock has reached a record high despite ongoing scrutiny over its Cambridge Analytica data breach that leaked personal information of up to 87 million people, MarketWatch reported.
Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99 percent of his Facebook stock away in his lifetime, his Bloomberg profile shows. Further, Zuckerberg has given $3.58 billion in stock sales away this year alone to a charity initiative he set up with his wife, Priscilla Chan, in 2015.
Buffett has donated about 290 million of his shares in Berkshire Hathaway to charities — an equivalent of about $50 billion.
*Reported by UPI

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