Naomi Camp­bell takes on white fash­ion world

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

DAR ES SALAAM: Car­ry­ing a golden dag­ger on her first African cat­walk, su­per­model Naomi Camp­bell emerged from be­hind a shim­mer­ing veil to make a pointed at­tack on the de­vel­oped world’s dis­crim­i­na­tion against black mod­els.

“Where do we see a woman of colour in an advert? It’s quite bla­tant,” she said in an in­ter­view back­stage at her Fash­ion for Re­lief char­ity fash­ion show, which she held in Africa for the first time.

“There’s def­i­nitely space (for more black mod­els) but has there been enough ef­fort? It was get­ting bet­ter but it’s slipped back this year.”

The Bri­tish su­per model brought to­gether flam­boy­ant out­fits laced with beads, pea­cock feathers and big neck­laces from lo­cal de­sign­ers, as well as as­pir­ing mod­els from across the con­ti­nent who are com­pet­ing to be the “Face of Africa”.

Many of the women were star-struck at meet­ing Camp­bell, who helped ad­vise back­stage on hair­styles and makeup and posed for pho­tos at the show held in the sul­try Tan­za­nian coastal city of Dar es Salaam.

“Women of colour who have had a great ex­pe­ri­ence in life need to share their ex­pe­ri­ences with oth­ers. The world is not made up of blonde hair and blue eyes. We need to share our­selves,” she said.

“It’s like a dream come true to meet her,” said Tho­lakele Dlamini, a 23-year-old Face of Africa con­tes­tant from Zim­babwe. “I think there need to be more black mod­els to bal­ance it out a bit – there’s a lot of qual­ity out there with po­ten­tial.”

Mod­el­ling was an un­ex­pected ca­reer move for Dlamini, whose par­ents were in the army and wanted her to be­come a sol­dier.

“I think most girls dream but they don’t chase af­ter their dream: I’m chas­ing,” she said back­stage.

For Camp­bell, who reg­u­larly vis­its neigh­bour­ing Kenya but has never be­fore walked on an African run­way, the con­ti­nent has great po­ten­tial. “Africa is a place of tragedy but I see beauty ev­ery­where – there are all th­ese beau­ti­ful African women of colour,” she said. “You see th­ese long necks of el­e­gant women just walk­ing in the streets.”

Pre­vi­ous Fash­ion For Re­lief shows put on by Camp­bell in New York, Lon­don and Mum­bai have raised as much as $1 mil­lion for causes such as re­lief from floods and other nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

Funds from the fash­ion event in Dar es Salaam, dur­ing which a dress Camp­bell wore from lo­cal de­signer Mustafa Has­sanali was auc­tioned for char­ity for $10 000 (about R75 000) will go to sup­port ma­ter­nal health.

Camp­bell is global am­bas­sador for the White Rib­bon Al­liance, an in­ter na­tional coali­tion for ma­ter­nal health, which is this year hold­ing its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Tan- za­nia, where a woman dies in child­birth ev­ery hour.

“No woman should die giv­ing birth,” said Camp­bell.

Preg­nancy is the lead­ing killer of women of re­pro­duc­tive age in the de­vel­op­ing world – more than 80 per­cent pre­ventable.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, which lob­bies for more health work­ers, wants an ex­tra $10 bil­lion a year for ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity and an ex­tra four mil­lion trained health work­ers be­fore 2015, the dead­line by which the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goal stip­u­lates ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity should be down by 75 per­cent.

Lit­tle progress has been made on rates of mater nal mor­tal­ity in 20 years. Camp­bell was to visit a ma­ter­nity clinic yes­ter­day. – Reuters

UP WHERE I BE­LONG: Naomi Camp­bell on the cat­walk in Dar es Salaam.


BLACK IS BEAU­TI­FUL: Naomi Camp­bell shares a mo­ment with ma­ter­nal health cam­paign­ers.

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