It was humorous. The idea that there is a young, black billionaire who wants to throw a secret party with a performance by an international musical guest to celebrate summer. And they want me there? Hmmm.
At the end of 2018, I received word that said billionaire, Thato Mashaba - or Thato Mash on social media - requested the pleasure of my company at his Ultimate Summer Vibe party. I was asked to follow Thato’s Instagram account, where I would receive more information.
The account made sure to never show Thato’s face. Now, as a natural sceptic, I couldn’t suspend belief. I’ve witnessed events go from carefully curated cool experiences to agency-led brand exercises.
So, for once, I allowed myself to be humoured by this fictional character. Speaking to others about this party showed me just how much most people are starving for something different from an event. Not the usual drinks and DJs vibe.
This felt like it could be something to write about. On the day of the party, we were shuttled to a mansion in Sandton. We were met by the butler who assured us that “Sir Thato” wanted us to feel at home. Most of us were still playing along, wondering aloud who Thato actually was and who the international act was.
Would it be Rick Ross, who had shared the stage with Kwesta a few days before? How about trap-jazz artist Masego? After what felt like an eternity sitting in the holding area and waiting for many, many other people to arrive, the buzz of what felt like it could be a treasure hunt began to wane. For something that was meant to be exclusive, there sure seemed to be a lot of people there.
We were taken from the holding area to the house - a beautiful space with sculptures in the garden, a stage very far from the bar and a games area and a chill area in between.
Stilo Magolide performed to a crowd that had lost its excitement. When Moozlie got on, her infallible stage presence allowed people to open up more. In addition to her solo songs, she performed Mamghobozi and Mbongo Zaka with Rouge, and then Rouge had her own set. It was a pleasure to watch her teach folks the CEO step and to hear the attentive arrangement of her beats. I’d found out that the international act was Bas, the little-known rapper who is signed to J Cole’s Dreamville label.
I’m sure there were invited guests who were having the time of their lives because of him. But this was a reminder that it’s not easy to throw a great party in a city that is spoiled for choice.
The event was hosted by Castle Lite and I tip my hat off to them for bucking the trends with their ability to get us excited about a guy who doesn’t exist.
Here’s hoping the next event’s follow-through lives up to expectations.