We have all moaned amongst ourselves about the amount of time and effort, not to mention hard, cold cash that goes into preparing for a Matric Dance for our beloved offspring. It was the daughter’s matric dance last weekend, and I too was slightly gobsmacked about what was required – finding a dressmaker, dress fittings, practice hair, practice make-up, purchasing shoes and a bag, planning for pre-pre-drinks and pre-drinks – being ordered around like I was a not-too-bright lady’s maid at Downton Abbey…
it did feel rather like preparing for a wedding.
But as I was bending the ear of some poor neighbourhood chum we see on our daily walks about the sheer hassle of it all – I stopped myself mid-moan – because the point of these occasions is that they are rites of passage. It is all too soon that our children are grown up and ready to fly the coop and as much as we grumble about these dos, I know that next year when the husband and I have an empty nest, we shall miss them very much indeed.
The severing of the apron strings is a painful but necessary process.
Already, I can see that the daughter would much rather be with her friends than us, that our needing to celebrate occasions with her is a touch tiresome and it does make me want to clutch on to her that little bit tighter. Her independence should not come as a surprise, given that this is the child whose catchphrase as a little thing was “I can do it” whenever we tried to help her.
We were not allowed to walk her in for her first day at big school. For her first birthday ring at her pre-primary, she insisted on lighting the birthday candles herself, much to the teacher’s alarm. I can do it, she growled.
The daughter has a fantastic eye for fashion but the challenge was finding someone to make her dress as she had a VERY SET idea of what she wanted to wear for her dance.
“Perhaps we’ll find something you like at the shops,” I whittered hopefully.
She dutifully traipsed around after me at the Mall going into boutiques I would never usually frequent where I needed to have a little lie-down after I saw the prices for some rather frighteningly ornate and besequinned frocks.
“They want twenty k for THAT monstrosity??” hissed I, eyes wide with horror.
Eventually, we gave up and after administering a large dose of caffeine, I set about finding someone who could make the dress of the daughter’s dreams.
This is where Facebook is your friend, I posted a message looking for a dressmaker on our neighbourhood group and hey presto, fellow writer Rosalind Butler got back to me with the name of a dress designer who had made her daughter’s MD dress – Nadia Kruger of Richandstrange.
I discovered that Nadia was also a costume designer, whom along with seamstress Aggie Mokwena and Kesia Nkosi who does the handwork, creates the most fabulous costumes for movies. Kesia was busy sewing headdresses for Shaka Zulu on the one day we were there, and I immediately relaxed because I knew I was amongst my people. Not only are they fabulous dressmakers, but we know a lot of the same people, so we had the most fantastic remember-so-and-so sessions as an added bonus.
In just a few weeks, Nadia and Aggie conjured up the most stunning red satin sheath for the daughter, along with the long gloves she wanted (that turned out to be a bit of a nightmare to make. Sorry, Nadia and Aggie!) They were so patient and took time to have extra fittings to make sure she was completely comfortable and the result was just spectacular – as Aggie said, we could definitely get 15 cows for her lobola (apparently 12 is the going rate).
Nadia is also very reasonable price-wise and in addition to MD dresses and costume designing is planning her own line of retro frocks and coats, you can contact her at: Nadia.email@example.com.
After sorting out the dress, the next issue was the hair and nails. Luckily, I had worked with Storm from The Hairdresser & Some for a photo shoot and I knew she would be able to style the daughter’s hair in the twenties finger-wave look that she wanted. We had a practice run the Saturday before and then on the day, they (Storm and her mum) created a magnificent do that was film star glamorous.
You can whatsapp Storm on 072 7469051, they are based in Blairgowrie.
The daughter is a whizz with make-up and after some debating, she decided to do her own on the day. Guests were already arriving for pre-pre-drinks as she was getting ready and I got chased out of her room more than once with a “Doing eyeliner requires concentration, Mom!” said through clenched teeth.
As she came down the stairs and out into the garden where we were having drinks, she looked so breath-taking, I did have a little blub and couldn’t help reflecting that all the effort had been worth it. My bestie, Jane and my brother, Tom took some fantastic pictures and my sister arranged a family Zoom call so that everyone could see the daughter in her finery.
Later on at the school, I looked around and saw one mum with tears streaming down her face as she watched her daughter making her grand entrance. It’s been a tough two years, we’ve been deprived of so much, it felt extra special to be able to watch our children take this step into adulthood and I am not at all biased, but I thought they all looked UTTERLY SPECTACULAR.
Film recommendations: Zilch. I’ve been too busy.
Book recommendations: Last week was a bumper week for receiving book post. From the lovely Helen Holyoake and Exclusive Books, I received The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont, the exquisite Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown and The Swim Team by Catherine Jarvis. From Helené Prinsloo at NB Publishers, I received It Doesn’t Have to be This Way by Alistair Mackay.
Being the promiscuous book ho that I am, I couldn’t help having a little read of all of them but eventually gave myself a stern talking-to and as the daughter is a swimmer and this blog is about her dance, I settled down to read The Swim Team.
It was recommended to me by one of the Awesome Foursome, Amy Heydenrych and I can totally see why it has already won a Sanlam Gold for Youth Literature. It’s the story of Khetiwe who wins a swimming scholarship to a fancy private school in Joburg, and then has to deal with nasty queen bee and swimming captain, Farrah who sets out to make her life as unpleasant as possible.
The book is a real page-turner with excellent tension, and I loved the way it confronted race and class issues, bullying and toxic masculinity head on. An important book for parents and learners alike, I highly recommend it and have been encouraging everyone at the daughter’s school to read it.
That’s it for this week. Have a wonderful bookish weekend. Happy reading! xxx