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Art

Hello Spring

Spring is about how everything literally comes to life in Spring; there’s more energy, more colour, and the glow on everything is just amazing. Fashion is bold and colourful, free and beautiful. Makeup is dewy and vibrant, while the air feels alive as the first shoots of life come forth. 

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9 / 100

AN OPTICAL ILLUSION

By Renée Seckel

Despite a one week delay, spring is finally here and we’re ever so excited! Here to remind the world of the beauty of spring is our cover feature, Renée Seckel, a professional make-up artist who specialises in optical illusions but also does regular fashion and bridal makeup.

Anyone who has ever met Renée will tell you just what an amazing and talented artist she is, beautiful both inside and out. She is a passionate, driven, creative and goal-oriented person with the energy of a 16 year old. She is a mother and a wife, and family means everything to her. When she’s not doing makeup, Renee loves singing at her church and she absolutely loves cooking and baking too.

To say that Renée nailed her “Hello Spring” exhibition is a complete understatement. 

Tell us more about the inspiration behind “Hello Spring”.

The inspiration behind “Hello Spring” is about how everything literally comes to life in Spring; there’s more energy, more colour, and the glow on everything is just amazing. Fashion is bold and colourful, free and beautiful. Makeup is dewy and vibrant, while the air feels alive as the first shoots of life come forth. 

What fascinates you about this line of work? 

I absolutely love creativity and thinking out of the box when I create different makeup looks, especially optical illusion work and special effects. 

Which two season makeup trends interest you the most?

I love the lower-liner trend and the red smoky eye. 

How do you stay abreast with the latest beauty trends?

I keep learning. We never stop learning, no matter how old you are. I make sure I go onto social media and follow other makeup artists and allow myself to draw from them too. 

“…everything literally comes to life in Spring; there’s more energy, more colour, and the glow on everything is just amazing.”

Should we be on the lookout for beauty trends from you?

Most definitely! I recently launched my ‘Lashes by Renée Seckel’, so I’m excited to grow my brand.

Do you have any advice for upcoming makeup artists?

Never allow the negative opinions of people to shift your focus, keep your eye on the goal and allow that negativity to grow you. People’s opinions will always be their opinions and they are entitled to them and you cannot change that, but don’t respond to their call of negativity or allow it to alter your walk… straighten your back and keep walking!

Hello Spring Asante Afrika
Hello Spring Asante Afrika
Hello Spring Asante Afrika
Renée Seckel

Interviewed by Bubbles Mlangeni

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Entertainment

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya

Originality and fluency in one’s mother language, in most instances, and packaging music in the usual “African way”, is the key to success.

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Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika
Vusa Mkhaya
9 / 100

AFRICAN music is regarded as unique in many ways. Some believe it has that soothing factor in it, to such an extent that they can hardly complete listening to a proper session without a song or two from the motherland. The unanswered question is why? Well, according to Zimbabwean-born musician, Vusa Mkhaya, born Vusumuzi Ndlovu, African musicians have made their music appreciated worldwide because they dedicate their time to producing original music using their native languages.

Mkhaya, now based in Vienna, Austria, says music enthusiasts overseas yearn for love, and appreciate the music from Africa despite them being in a sea of international music pieces produced by acclaimed artists, some of them winners of international music awards and accolades. He believes that trying to imitate these artists and musicians while one hails from Africa in the manner in which the international artists write, sing, and produce their music, is the greatest undoing of some African artists – a habit he says should die with the old horses in the music industry.

Originality and fluency in one’s mother language, in most instances, and packaging music in the usual “African way”, is the key to success.

“…as artists, we tend to enjoy imitating those artists who are deemed to be the big names in the international music scene.”

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika
Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika

Says Mkhaya: “The challenge we face in our music is that, as artists, we tend to enjoy imitating those artists who are deemed to be the big names in the international music scene. We do so in the hope that we would also be able to land that big boy or big girl status that those we want to copy would have achieved. I believe that in this business, it does not work like that. When Vusa Mkhaya sings in his native isiNdebele, isiZulu, tshiVenda, seSotho, Shangaan and other indigenous languages, he should continue to write songs in those languages. You need to use that language that you are comfortable with. Don’t be Chris Brown, Puff Daddy or Beenie Man. Those are the household names in their part of the world and they are good at what they do, using the language they are fluent in. Using your native language, one is able to get invited to collaborations with the big names because some people admire the style that we have as Africans. They do not have it nor can they fake it. That is why they hire you to work with them. He argues that imitation does not usually show the world the true picture of an artist.”

“If we imitate the likes of Usher and the many other artists, those in the better placed music community overseas will not invite us to partner with them because they already have that style that we want to try and copy and in a better version than what we will be trying to do. “But if you are your own natural self as Vusa Mkhaya, the producers for those big name artists will see the talent in you and look for you to do the collaborations with these big name artists and that is how one breaks into the international market. Originality is the main key,” Mkhaya says.

While most of the artists who have apparently “made it” in the music industry using African yardsticks and measurements have seemingly made it through their natural and God-given talent and endowment, Mkhaya argues that enrolling for music lessons and classes is one way that should help the regional artists polish up their act. “When you go on an international tour, one does not need to be distracted in what they do. You only need to copy some good things there. On our first international tour as Insingizi Emnyama from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as way back as 1995, we discovered that in some other places, artists took music more seriously such that they would even go to school to learn music and what it is.

“Some people thought you could just jump onto the stage and sing or perform. For those overseas, music was serious business. They would go to school so that they studied and understood the business in and out. I would say that determination to also understand the business, having come from a Zimbabwean background, forced us to also enroll for the music lessons as well. That decision was a master stroke as it helped us a lot as we were now able to work with other musicians and filmmakers who would time and again engage us to produce music for other productions,” Mkhaya says.

Having spent time in Austria and having spread his tentacles in the music industry, Mkhaya has realized the fruits of his sweat and can now look back and smile as he reminisces and re-visits the life and hard times gone by.

“I have worked with so many filmmakers on quite a number of productions from my home studio here in Austria. In 2018, a production that I did music for was nominated for an Oscar award. That production, entitled Batu Wote (All of us) was a joint production between a German and a Kenyan production company. Unfortunately, the Oscar was won by another production that had been nominated at the same time.”

“I was also involved in the production of a song that was featured in a South African production called Mia and the White Lion. These are some of the many projects I have worked on. In my career, I have learnt a lot of things that have shaped the Vusa Mkhaya brand as it has come to be known worldwide. One of the key lessons that artists, upcoming and seasoned ones alike, need to know is that there is a time when one has to clearly distinguish between what they can and what they cannot do. Once you are clear about what you can and what you can’t do, you are able to bring on board those that can do those things that you cannot do and you have to appreciate and embrace them as they are able to contribute towards the success that you yearn for without taking the glory from you. Team work is important in the music business,” he says.

Mkhaya also recently took to Twitter to share some wise and insightful advice to talented and upcoming musicians who would also like to make it outside Zimbabwe;

Up Close with Austria-based Music Giant, Vusa Mkhaya Asante Afrika

Interviewed by “City Man” Nkululeko Sibanda

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