An ode to Novell: Gone too soon

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.

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One thought on “An ode to Novell: Gone too soon

  1. Zwa was a great man and like a brother to me, like myself he had never met a stranger in his life. We toured Zimbabwe in 2009 and then SA at the World Cup 2010 and went thru some awesome adventures together. Zwa was a real true brother , whether we got paid or not had a car or not, he was always at 100% input of work and always on to the next gig. He had a great ability to get us audiences with great people musicians and politicians and we found ourselves in very high and very low places all in a days work. On the strength of his word alone, people we had just met went out their way to accommodate us always . Most importantly Zwa was a journalist at heart, no matter how tired or how late we came back to the hotel, between that and morning he found a way to submits many reports to Nordic Africa and other newspapers with full detail and photos of the events. He was one word only -Amazing…
    PS-To see his designs just google my video Vahombe On YouTube and that was his genius..

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