By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Harare, Zimbabwe – Award-winning Zimbabwean arts journalist, writer and fashion designer, Novell Romeo Zwangendaba, who died on June 16 aged 34, was passionately ingrained into the arts scene in Harare. Born on August 14, 1979, Zwange was a humble person who had the love of the arts and artists at heart, and was committed to take the local arts industry to a whole new level.
He loved the arts in their entirety and was always willing to share his knowledge, skills and innumerable contacts list with anyone that approached him. He was indeed a master of contacts. His affability and humble nature endeared him to many in Harare’s fledgling arts circle. Simply put, he was an encourager and an inspiration; he was a very creative individual, full of advice and useful contacts. His love for the arts and fashion was unparalleled.
Zwange also had a stint in South Africa which exposed him to a lot of artists and the arts scene in that country. In fact, he did a lot to showcase the South African arts scene to the world through his innumerable writings.
His writings graced several publications including the OpenDemocracy, JIVE magazine, the Daily News, The Zimbabwean, NewsDay, Nordic Africa News, Marimba Media, Artists Initiates among others.
His work as an ecological and ethnic-fashion designer managed to get him worldwide acclaim. Zwangendaba founded the EthnoDesignProject in 2005 and in 2007 the Project won the Global Young Social Entrepreneurship Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Innovator of the Year 2008 and also being selected among the Top 10 in the YSEI Awards.
He designed for several commissioned projects, television shows, theatre productions, documentaries and film, renowned personalities and prominent organisations in Zimbabwe and beyond. In the year 2009 he became one of the few designers to selected to showcase at the biggest African showcase, the PanAfrica Cultural Festival held in Algeria
As popular jazz musician, Jeys Marabini succinctly put it, in Zwange, Zimbabwe lost a great, vibrant young journalist, thinker and fashion designer. He is survived by his wife and son.