Zanu PF 2023 election campaign: Internationally acclaimed fashion designer ‘snatches’ regalia deal
Internationally acclaimed fashion designer Thembani Mubochwa has usurped the role of designing Zanu PF 2023 campaign regalia, outwitting the current designers Herbet Huruva and James Pande, Zim Morning Post can report.
Zim Morning Post understands that Mubochwa, who is also the youth ambassador for the conservation of elephants, has started a roll out of his merchandise.
The merchandise comes in the form of overalls, jackets and women’s jumpsuits and mini- dress- which are all branded with 2023 campaign insignia.
Mubochwa was commissioned for his ambassadorial role at the behest of the then Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri in 2016.
The regalia were previously designed by Huruva and Pande who came in with the ‘Hovhorosi Style’ initiative during the late former president Robert Mugabe’s reign and it bore his (Mugabe)’s signature.
Mubochwa was evasive when asked on the development.
“I am not in a position to discuss about such matters on my deals until the appropriate time but as a businessman and designer I work with any client to sustain my business,” he said.
His close associates, however, told Zim Morning Post that they delivered an order to Mutare on Thursday and the demand was overwhelming.
“Well, Mubochwa took over from Huruva and Pande and he came in with a unique design given his vast experience in the fashion industry,” said a Zanu PF youth league insider.
“His regalia is classified in different classes namely the Presidential jackets which are for the high end market and the usual overalls which is however designed with a different touch that is line with current fashion trends. He is working with (Tendai) Chirau,” he added.
Huruva tried to employ innovation in his designs and in the 2018 elections campaign, he launched the ‘ED has my Vote’ overalls which were made with canvas material.
Then, Huruva and Pande were on record saying the label competed with other popular labels on the international platform.
He said they chose the ‘Hovhorosi’ (overall) style because it represents workmanship that the youths must emulate.
However, in the 2023 elections campaign, Mubochwa elbowed out the duo, buoyed by his decorated track record where he has worked with South Africa’s ruling party Africa National Congress (ANC) during Julius Malema’s reign as national youth leader.
This publication understands that President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the regalia and a boutique will be opened before the end of the year, housed at the ground floor of the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare.
Already, some aspiring Zanu PF cadres have been seen distributing the overalls in their respective constituencies.
Popular businessman and gold dealer Scott Sakupwanya of Better Brands, was spotted wearing the new designed overall at a hand over ceremony of a dump truck he donated to Mabvuku-Tafara residents recently.
He harbours ambitions of landing the councillor position in that area.
Images of James Makamba wearing the same regalia were also seen by this publication.
Zanu PF deputy national youth secretary has also been spotted wearing the same outfit at party events and recently at an interface between journalists and Zanu PF, the party’s director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi wore one of the jackets.
In an interview with the Zim Morning Post, Huruva conceded that the Zanu PF regalia deal was no-longer in his hands but maintained that he owns the patent rights to the hovhorosi design.
“I hold the rights to the hovhorisi design and all others are just copycats. It is good to see one’s design being imitated. It means we did a great job,” Huruva said.
The new Zanu PF regalia designer, Mubochwa has previously designed the costumes and red-carpet events wardrobe for top musician Jah Prayzah.
Mubochwa cut his teeth in the industry as a teenager in Glen Norah before relocating to Durban, South Africa where he nurtured his trade under his table TMZ fashions.
He has tailored outfits for the late South African gospel music guru Sfiso Ncwane and some of Mzansi’s A list celebrities, through his fashion house TMZ.
In October last year he was invited to Unesco headquarters in Paris, France to represent the country at a prestigious Pan-African Fashion Show.
He is also famed for designing an iconic dress which he named the ‘Elephant Dress’ and made its debut at the premier Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) in 2016.