“Ayoba!” That’s South African for fabulosity! [Editors note: “Ayoba” is slang used to express amazement.]
I’m in breathtaking Cape Town because my husband, Djimon Hounsou, was invited to South Africa by UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] and Puma to raise awareness for issues central to African unity and biodiversity. I came with him to support these causes but also to absorb Cape Town’s history and culture.
After checking into the Mount Nelson Hotel, we hit the streets in search of all things fabulous. First stop was St. George’s Mall — a living, breathing showcase of the arts. Bold and intensely visual displays created at the confluence of African, Asian and Indian cultures were represented in the blankets, bracelets and other handmade crafts sold by local artists and craft people.
We also visited the SOS Children’s Village in Cape Town, where kids whose lives have been ravaged by AIDS, war-torn communities and poverty are given a second chance at stability within the village.
The following day, we were treated to a private Big Five safari on a game reserve beyond the majestic Du Toitskloof Pass. Led by our intrepid tour guide, Thiago, we found ourselves mere yards away from lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and countless other regal creatures whose spirits and passions have inspired my designs for years. We also went to an in-store event at the Baby Phat store in Canal Walk Mall. I was especially excited about the custom-made crystallized soccer ball created in honor of the World Cup. So fab!
Later that night at beautiful Cape Town Stadium, we cheered on Cameroon as they faced off against the Netherlands. Though our team lost, our spirits soared with the almost 60,000 other exuberant soccer fans! Cape Town’s legacy of civil rights came full circle for us as Djimon and I were invited to contribute to a handprint canvas created in honor of Nelson Mandela that is going to be auctioned in an effort to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. We left our handprints on the canvas. What an honor!
My trip to Cape Town was special for a number of reasons, not the least of which were the beautiful people we met. African issues and causes are near and dear to my family, and I was heartened to have the opportunity to help out whenever and however I could. I can’t wait to go back.
— Kimora Lee Simmons