BY GRANT MOYO
Vintage collection proponent Ngwiza Khumbulani Moyo, affectionately known as Ngwiza, has resumed collecting vintage pieces after he sidelined his desire prematurely at the height of the coronavirus global crisis in Zimbabwe early last year.
He acknowledges that not pursuing his passion for over a year made him realise how he misses the best parts of his self-propelled endeavour spanning four years.
Born in Zhombe district in the Midlands province, Ngwiza moved to Bulawayo when he was six months old to stay with his grandmother. He attended Lotshe Primary School in Makokoba, where he resides, and dropped out of high school due to financial constraints. Unlike most of his peers who were vastly interested in exploring the present, Ngwiza was more concerned about knowing and understanding how the past influences the present and future of people’s lifestyles.
His interest in vintage collection fully developed in 2017 when his former boss gave him vintage clothing which belonged to her late father and grandmother.
Ever since, he has walked in and out of auction sales, dealership shops, and been in touch with the elderly as well as knowledgeable people, helping him gather vintage pieces that include men and women’s clothes, shoes, hats, handbags, radios, typewriters, photographer’s cameras, vinyl records, coins and notes, as well as beverages.
“The main purpose of being fully active in vintage collection is to archive our history for our generation and the generation after us so that we stay in touch and be well informed about the influence and transition of our lifestyle,” Ngwiza said.
“I am bringing back the golden oldies which our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents experienced through clothing, music, gadgets as well as food.
“The evolution of fashion and technology fascinates me. When I started following my desire only a few people took me seriously, but now I have so many people wanting to be part of my pursuit.
“What is most interesting is that people get in touch regularly requesting for my services. They take pictures and shoot videos wearing vintage clothes, and use beverages, gadgets and vinyl records as props.”
The vintage collection proponent has a collection of more than 120 vinyl records that cut across a variety of genres from renowned musical artistes and bands who topped charts in the old days among them The Rooftop Singers’ Walk Right In (1963), Bellamy Brothers’ Inside of My Guitar (1975), The Dooleys’ A Million to One (1979), Four Jacks & a Jill’s Nickel Song (1971), and The Archies’ Melody Hill (1969).
While the advent of new media technologies has had a severe influence on the modification of gadgets, Ngwiza has been fortunate to have collected hand-held radios like the Philips BV35 radio and Supersonic Commodore De Luxe stereo, as well as a wireless short-wave radio and Tempest Concept turntable vinyl player.
Besides typewriters, his collection also consists of photographer’s cameras like Kodak Party Flash 2 instant camera (uses Kodamatic instant colour film), Polaroid EE44 instant camera (black and white), and Minolta XG1 camera. With vintage clothing pieces and beverages that have featured in numerous video and photo shoots, the success is complementing his efforts and hard work.
“I have a collection of sealed beverages like Tarino Schweppes products (Granadilla and Cream Soda), American Ginger Ale Schweppes (750ml), Canada Ginger Ale Schweppes (175ml), and Krest Club Soda, which have found their way into present-day photos,” he said.
“Among my shoe collection I have moccasins, wedges, and stilettos which come in different sizes and colours. I have designer dresses dating back to the 1970s from international labels like Leslie Fay, Suzanne Grae, Anne’s Closet, Asos Maternity, Shelli Segal, Lorac, Secrets, Prato, Everly Grey, and Philip Dicaprio.
“My menswear collection consists of safari suits by Concorde, Archer Leisure Wear, Bronson, Gigas of Robert Mugabe wear, Archer casuals, Firenzi, Paul Separates, and Trend International. The interesting collection of vintage hats that I have are by Glenway cap (Scotland), Hills hats (New Zealand), Harris Tweed hand- woven (Scotland), Dunn & Co the Alderney super stretch polyester (Scotland), Parkhurst beret (Canada), and a Rhodesian army beret.”
Ngwiza said the Makokoba community has been very supportive in terms of providing him with venues and vintage cars for his video and photo shoots, as well as linking him to people and places where vintage pieces are most likely to be found.
He admitted that despite the progress made, collecting vintage is a mammoth task. The pieces are scarce and come at a price, especially those which are rated as exclusive antique, owners do not easily part ways with them, hence most are never sold.
Ngwiza said to overcome the challenges he finds means to get the pieces at a reasonable price, lower than the pegged cost, especially when buying from people and places where he is a regular customer.
Owning a vintage modelling academy and establishing a hiring company which will provide the entertainment industry with vintage pieces for music video shoots, outdoor and studio photo shoots, film and theatre productions, as well as fashion events is Ngwiza’s priority.
With much still to be done, tapping into this thriving industry is a step-by-step process which will prove to be more difficult but yet achievable in the period we are living through, dealing with the coronavirus crisis.