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by Adrianne George

“Collaborating with others is the most exciting way to begin integrating yourself as quickly as possible in Norway,” says Laverne. “It costs you nothing but some time and the courage to offer the skills you already have as a service to people you are just getting to know. Creative people need the energy from new ideas here and it is worth going out to find these people.”

Laverne is a Social entrepreneur from South Africa who has always had a love for South African design. Having been drawing and sketching for almost 25 years she is grateful to have turned her passion into a career. She has been working as a graphic artist and events creator for musicians and cultural events focused here in Norway. “I am very passionate about promoting contemporary African design and working with people to create new products and ideas.”

In 2008, Laverne Wyatt-Skriubakken immigrated to Oslo from sunny Durban, South Africa. “A big change,” she says. “Trading an average of 300 sunny days a year for darker snow filled months was difficult.” To fight the weather depression, she and her husband began attending African and South African concerts in Oslo run by Global Music Oslo. Here she was introduced to residents of Oslo who were exciting, interesting and open to welcome new people. “It took some effort to follow up some contacts, but I offered the only thing I could and that is my design skills, a little knowledge of traditional Zulu dance and the burning desire to be involved – it was very boring and lonely here for me!”

Starting a blog

“I found I missed the style and colourful clothing from home, and there were people here who felt the same, that is when I decided to blog about them”. She started blogging about it on (www.mzansi-madame.blogspot.com) and through researching for articles to write, she met many people and received emails from people in Olso interested in the same things. “This was a great help and a good tip for anyone just moving to Oslo, find people online and contact them,” says Laverne. “Look for the resources and talents in the people around you, and collaborate.”

Laverne’s collaborations to date include:

 

Afro Marimba Funky Jazz, Fashion & Music evening, Oslo, Norway:
Producing the fashion show/dance alongside the music producer Zwai Mbula, to bring an evening of music, fun and fashion to Oslo on board the Msinnvik boat. It was part of a larger project which involved Norwegian students and international students participating in promoting South African fashion. NISS school had seven Norwegian make up & styling students participate. Oslo University had students from Burundi, France & Switzerland participate as models and dancers. The Royal Academy of Arts participated with a photography student & styling student to conduct the photo shoot.

The Msinnvik boat, venue for the Afro Marimba Funky Jazz, Fashion & Music evening in Oslo

Risør Film Festival, Norway:
Traditional Zulu dance
Choreographing fashion show and coaching first time models
Playing marimba in Ubuntu Band
Make-up & Styling

Mandela Day, Trømso, Norway:
Styling the band
Traditional Zulu dance
Playing marimba in Ubuntu Band

Mela Festival, Oslo, Norway:
Styling the band
Traditional Zulu dance
Playing marimba in Ubuntu Band
Hosting African fashion stand at Mela with Hilde Olsen

Womens Day Celebration, Oslo, Norway:
Worked with the South African Embassy on:
Producing the show concept
Planning the event
Decorating place
Organising performance schedule of South African; singer Nomfusi, marimba player Zwai Mbula and artist Nomzi Khumalo
Fashion show of South African clothes

Norway Cup, Oslo, Norway:
Worked with the South African Embassy on:
Planning an entertainment schedule for the South African stand at the Norway Cup
Kids crafts & face paint
Collaborating with the Nkululeko choir
Marimba music artists

Passion for Fashion

Laverne’s style of design is modern ethnic – and she designs under her own label called LAVERNE. Clients to date include: Evening gowns for Queendom (Asta Busingye Lydersen and Haddy Njie ), formal traditional outfits for Ms. B. Sisulu, Ambassador to South Africa in Norway, and African stage costumes for Zwai Mbula (South African music producer and performer).

Evening gowns for Queendom’s Asta Busingye Lydersen and Haddy Njie

Laverne’s next project is to create a line of kids accessories and to have a ladies networking fashion party. Laverne also creates custom graphic designs and can be contacted through her email: laverne.ws@gmail.com. To view her graphic design and fashion design work please visit Ethically ethnic design by Laverne on Facebook.

Print design for Mzansi Life TV
Photo credits: Images of Laverne courtesy of herself, design work sourced from her website www.mzansi-madame.blogspot.com

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Facebook comments:

3 Responses to “Laverne Wyatt-Skriubakken – Integrating with no money and no Norwegian”

  1. Mapodi says:

    Good work sisi, luv it and proud, Mzanzi for sure

  2. This is an inspiring story of perseverance and the power of networking and collaborating. It is good to read something like this. 

  3. Reggie says:

    Thanks! We agree and are proud of her as well.

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