Posted on April 06, 2011

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is pleased to announce South African designer, Bongiwe Walaza, as the guest designer and Tatum Keshwar, Miss South Africa 2009, as guest model for the Twelfth Annual Fashion Show, ‘Portfolio’. The event is open to the public on Thursday, 21 April, 2011 and starts at 7:30 PM with tickets available from 6:30PM. Doors close promptly at 7:15 PM.

Bongiwe Walaza will be showing some of her collection at VCUQatar’s annual fashion show this year. Born in Mqanduli, a small village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Walaza grew up enjoying knitting and sewing. The daughter of a home dressmaker, she made her own clothes from the remnants of her mother’s fabrics. Walaza concentrated her energy on math and physics and upon completing her schooling studied Electrical Engineering at Peninsula Technikon, Cape Town. While working for Telkom, she began designing and making dresses for herself and very quickly built a loyal client base.

In 1997, unhappy with the standard of quality of her dressmaking, she decided to hone her skills by studying fashion designing at Natal Technikon. She eventually qualified with a National Diploma in Fashion and has not looked back. Award winning Walaza has numerous achievements to her credit including showcasing and exhibiting her designs in New York, India, Las Vegas, London, Switzerland, Japan, Milan, Vietnam, Singapore, Thessalonica in Greece, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Egypt and Singapore.

She has also been a product developer for Wild Silk Africa while providing training for several of its employees. As a result of her innovative use of fabrics, Walaza also consults closely with renowned local textile company, Da Gama, that is developing a product for their Mandela range. Her company has also designed for Edgars stores (one of the leading chain stores in South Africa). She has participated in many shows, nationally and internationally. Walaza is presently involved in the B’avumile program, a skills development program for women especially in the rural areas. She operates from her inner city studio in the Johannesburg Fashion District of South Africa.

Walaza is best known of her innovativeness, individuality and a nonconforming approach in her creations.  Her collections are a truly modern African look that blurs the boundaries between formal and casual. Her signature style is self generated handcrafted detailing, seamless color coordination and a figure friendly layering.

Guest model Tatum Keshwar was one of the top ten finalists of Miss Universe 2009, finishing in 7th place. She also went on to represent South Africa in Miss World 2009, becoming second runner-up and Miss World Africa and was placed among the top 12 at the Miss World Top Model fast-track event.

‘Portfolio’ is the culminating academic project for Fashion Design students at VCUQatar, and every aspect - from the jury-selected student designs and model try-outs to show production - reflects their academic and creative efforts while launching senior fashion students from student life into successful careers. This celebration of fashion brings together spectators, friends, and fashion enthusiasts from the region, not only to judge and/or admire the collections of the students, but also for the unique atmosphere of this grand defilé.

VCUQatar’s annual fashion show, a traditionally sold-out event, will be held Thursday, 21 April, 2011 at the atrium at VCUQatar. Tickets will be available free of charge from 6:30 PM at the door on a first come, first serve basis. Only one ticket will be given to each person attending. Due to strong demand, guests are encouraged to arrive as early as possible. The show starts at 7:30 PM with doors closing at 7:15 PM. For more information please call +974 44020555 or visit