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Work hard - Play harder
Amanda Atwood and Bev Clark,
June 28, 2010

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Rina MushongaOn Saturday 26 June The Production Company hosted its first "Party with a Purpose" at Harare's Pomona Quarry. The invitation read Industry: Work Hard Play Harder and advised "bring your trash." Cans, bottles, fabrics and paper were all welcome, and there were large bins at the entrance for people to put the rubbish they had brought. According to co-organiser Rina Mushonga, the idea is to say to people: "Come and have a good time. We're not going to bludgeon you to death with a message, but it's there. And we'll see how art and party and social consciousness can be meshed." Listen

The party was held in an open space at the quarry, with bulldozers, graders and trucks around the periphery. In the background, 80's hits like Boys Don't Cry and 99 Red Balloons played. Big fires in drums kept the winter chill at bay and lights, lanterns, graffiti and hay bails gave the sandy quarry a festive atmosphere.

Against the side of a building, a quirky, fun series of video clips played on repeat, with shots of buildings exploding, recycling cartoons and eco-animation.

The party was inspired by a "drunken comment" during HIFA by fashion designer Peta Searle to Mushonga, who said "wouldn't it be really cool to do a fashiony recycling thing." A week later Searle didn't remember the idea, but when Mushonga reminded her about it, the two agreed to start putting it into motion. Listen

Mushonga said people were receptive to the "party with a purpose" concept. "The biggest response we've had has been about the recycling element. People are always happy to go to a party and have a good time. But I think if they can go and have a good time and feel that it's also doing something good, or it's about something more than dancing around and getting drunk, then it's all good." Listen

Some party-goers critiqued the $15 cover charge, but Mushonga said the gate takings would primarily go to paying for the party itself, and for helping the organisers to deal with the rubbish people had brought. But even if they did make a profit, as Mushonga put it, "Commercialism and consciousness are not mutually exclusive. Just because we're making a profit doesn't mean we don't have a good heart." Listen

Design by Java MonkeyThe centerpiece of the evening was the Midnight Fashion Show, the launch of Searle's Java Monkey label. In her designs, Searle includes recycled elements such as bottle caps and rubbish. She also reclaims old clothes and fabrics and integrates them into her designs.

The Industry party was the first of what The Production Company plans will be a bi-monthly series of parties centered around the eco-theme. If you'd like to get involved in planning the next event, or want to be informed about what's coming, email


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