The cold front that unexpectedly hit Joburg this week did not stop throngs from pitching up at the Hennessy VSOP Privilege 200th year celebration.
The choice of venue, Turbine Hall at the Newtown Precinct, was perfect for the function.
A walkway was created with six premiere Hennessy bottles on either side of the foyer leading down into the photo area where 200 bottles were set up as the backdrop to mark the cognac’s 200th anniversary.
And at that point it was a little unclear what the night had in store for us, but boy was it eventful.
Among the waiting guests was master of ceremonies Maps Maponyane kitted out in a white jacket.
Yes, it was a black-tie event, but clearly not everyone got the memo as the looks of the night varied depending on people’s interpretation of the dress code.
Zakes Bantwini, Katleho “Kat” Sinivasan and Slikour of Skwatta Kamp fame were also there among the guests waiting in the fancy foyer.
After the welcome speech, we were addressed by one of the two eighth-generation descendants of Richard Hennessy, Roch.
As he put it, the night was to experience the journey of the cognac that started more than 200 years ago and to share in the dream of creating individual legacies.
And what better way than to invite the movers and shakers of our times, he said.
Then, just when we thought the night was over, we were ushered into the third part of the programme, a grand dinner.
The dining room was dimly lit and each guest was allowed to select their own seat, which was an amazingly inclusive part of the night.
There were two very long tables with black tablecloths, burning black candles and varying gold centrepieces on random points of the table.
The music, as at the waiting points, was of a royal standard which set the tone nicely for the historical journey we were about to take.
Sitting just across from me was new kid on the block, hip hop star Bigstar Johnson. To my left was record label Vth Season boss Raphael Benza, and at the top of our table was actress Nambitha Ben-Mazwi with Maps.
Also spotted in the room were Isibaya actors and buddies Sdumo Mtshali and Pallance Dladla, celebrated actor Israel Matseke Zulu who is popularly known as GP and e.tv actress Nunu Khumalo, among others.
At the head of the tables were the two Hennessy descendants, Roch and Maurice Hennessy, who have both ensured the family legacy did not die.
There were performances in between the three-course meal and various Hennessy cocktails.
The Sunday Independent