Johannesburg - Sunny Durban was the place to be on Saturday – specifically, Greyville Racecourse, which hosted the 121st edition of the prestigious annual event that is the Vodacom Durban July.
Thousands of punters – including celebs such as actress Nomzamo Mbatha, TV personalities Boity Thulo and K Naomi, as well as businesswomen and politicians’ wives such as Noma Gigaba and Thembeka Ngcobo – turned out to enjoy a day of glamour and fun at the races.
Mbatha wore a revealing dress in striking colours, designed by Rich Factory and inspired by the Maasai people of Kenya. She said: “It’s winter everywhere in South Africa but Durban. So why not show a little side boob, open your back and enjoy the summer that we get to enjoy for the weekend? Durban July is about a good time. If you don’t have a good time, it’s a shame.”
Mbatha and her former flame, Maps Maponyane, were noticeably situated at opposite ends of the event this year – a far cry from their usual red carpet appearance together. When asked who he was there with, Maponyane would only say: “Some people.”
With so much money, power, fame and champagne gathered in one place, the only venue to be if you’ve come to see and be seen, rather than attending for the horserace itself, is the Marquee Village. It comprises a host of pricey tented venues located alongside the racetrack, which separate the haves from the have-nots on the other side.
The Afrotainment marquee maintained its reputation as one of the most talked-about tents of the day, drawing a cool urban youth crowd that included DJ Tira, Lady Zamar and Distruction Boyz.
At the Mabala Noise Kings and Queens marquee, Aka, Nasty C, Mafikizolo and Babes Wodumo gathered.
At designer David Tlale’s private function at The Paddocks, Gigaba was wearing a gold mini by designer Orapeleng Modutle, with her home affairs minister husband Malusi nowhere in sight. Likewise, Ngcobo was in a sequinned black mini and fur jacket while her hubby, Police Minister Bheki Cele, was busy working.
“It’s my third time here,” said Gigaba. “For me, it’s about mingling with people in a relaxed environment. Although we discuss business, it’s more relaxed.
“There is a table in the corner for meetings. If you see someone you’ve always wanted to meet, you grab them. It’s also about deals. I’m in the IT industry and on Monday we do the follow-ups. It’s nice to introduce yourself to someone when they are in this kind of environment; it’s good for business.”
Tlale launched his Red Collection for Vodacom and said of it: “Red is a sign of liberation for me. People see and experience me in a different light.”
(Photos: Siyanda Mayeza, City Press)