It's one of the most highly attended events on both the entertainment and sports calendar, not to mention the fact that it’s the place to be if you want to spot celebrities and high-profile members of society.
The Durban July took place this weekend at the Greyville racecourse. Considered one of South Africa’s greatest sporting events, R3 million was up for the taking at the main race.
Sponsored by Vodacom, the event saw thousands of people descend upon Durban to revel in the glitz and glamour of the occasion. This year’s theme was “In a Material World”, with an emphasis on the colour red and going green.
For weeks fanfare has surrounded the Durban July and this finally reached a crescendo when the event begun promptly at midday on Saturday. Parking was sold out a week earlier. As a result guests were told to make use of the park-and-ride system near Moses Mabhida Stadium. Upon arrival, shuttle buses ferried attendees to the racecourse where hordes of people could be seen entering Greyville.
The scene at the racecourse was one of colour, excitement and outrageous outfits. For those betting on horses, the main track was where they could be found. For fashionistas, the marquees and lounges were the perfect hangout spots.
Although the Durban July is a sporting event, it is widely known that it is a socialite’s dream seeing as there are many pre, during and after parties. Each marquee and lounge is hosted by a TV network, alcoholic beverage brand or private or public sector entity.
This year, the Vodacom marquee was the heart of entertainment as the cellphone company hosted two suites. The first was a premium lounge experience where guests could wine and dine while watching the races from below. The second was an underground experience, decked out with all- round plasmas and photo booths.
Several celebs were spotted at Vodacom’s marquee, including Claire Mawisa, designer Felicity Shiba, Metro FM DJ Azania Mosaka, designer Thula Sindi, model Pearl Thusi, presenters Luthando Shosha and Dineo Moeketsi, singer Arno Carstens and DJ Black Coffee, among others.
The coveted prize for best dressed went to presenter and actress Minnie Dlamini who was clad in an all brown outfit inspired by horses and saddles. Dlamini apparently clinched the prize because she had followed the theme completely.
The winner of the main racing prize was Pomodoro who beat Smanjemanje by a slight margin. Owner Pierre ‘Striker’ Strydom won for the third time on the day.
The Pegasus lounge was hosted by Castle Milk Stout. It’s theme colours were blue, silver and black and featured a stage where soul singer Zonke, Kabomo and Liquid Deep performed. Guests dined on servings of sautéed chicken, curry and beef platters. The venue was also a platform to officialy launch Castle Milk Stout’s unplugged sessions.
“Castle Milk Stout has always given those who enjoy the full-flavoured taste of quality dark roasted malt something to savour. Now we are bringing South Africans an occasion to match, a chance to slow things down, to unwind and take the time to appreciate the good things in life,” said Tebogo Motsepe, Brand Campaign Manager for Castle Milk Stout.
etv, Afrotainment and Igagagsi FM partnered up to host their own marquee. This venue offered guests an authentic Durban experience in the form of local music and performances from Theo Kgosinkwe, Zakes Bantwini and Liquid Deep. The marquee was decked out in red, white and silver, and guests were fed a three-course meal. Spotted at this marquee were DJ Tira, Hlelo and Ntando Masina, Gang of Instrumentals duo Tumi Masemola and Mandla N, and breakfast show DJ Moeketsi.
Other personalties spotted in and around the July were designer David Tlale, who said he had dressed several celebs, Jeannie D in a Gavin Rajah creation, Top Billing presenter Lorna Maseko, fashionista Noni Gasa, musician Latoya Mangezi and Zuraida Jardine.