Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Reporter
Trend-setting and conquerors!
This aptly sums up the unparalleled exploits of Zimbabwean women across the globe when given the position of authority.
Not only are they excelling, but they give it all and denying them gongs would be a miscarriage of justice.
In some cases, they set new records which stay unmatched for years owing to their prowess.
So determined are these women that they even shame their foes as they continue to show the world how it is done.
In some cases, banana skins are thrown on their acclaim, but they continue to defy odds owing to their zeal and determination as they yearn for success.
Be it in academics, arts, events planning, sport, science, management, mining, health, events and even social work, Zimbabwean women have never disappointed.
Well, ask anyone in the events industry locally and in South Africa, the United Kingdom, among other countries, when it comes to vision creation and event planning, there is one ‘‘big woman’’ — known as Petronella Tshatedi, but in the industry, they refer to her as, ‘‘Auntie Pet’’.
Though she prefers to be called, ‘‘tete’’, the bubbly ever smiling events planner guru has a top notch star attraction style and masterpiece when it comes to arranging on the table.
Just like aunty roles and duties in a family, Auntie Pet extends that to clients and that has helped her build a strong relationship with her work.
As we celebrate these women’s triumph, many might be wondering and asking who Petronella Tshatedi is.
Saturday Lifestyle Herald caught up with Auntie Pet — owner of the most sought after Elysian Events Production — via virtual where she shared her story.
“I was born in a family of seven,” she said.
“I was educated in the Catholic system, from primary school and completed my high school at Dominican Convent in Harare.
“I hold several qualifications, including business management, events management, and I am a certified etiquette trainer. Growing up, my siblings and I were very sporty, and either became sports administrators or players.
“At a personal level, I represented Zimbabwe women’s senior basketball, with my first call up when I was still in high school. I am a Christian and I attribute all my achievements to God.”
Auntie Pet, whose midas touch when it comes from working from scratch, has caused a stir on her social media page, with some questioning what is her secret to success.
She posed: “I am very time conscious, attention to detail oriented and this has helped me work well apart from connecting well with my clients. I treat them like family. My secret is the checklist book. When planning or hosting an event, if you do not have a checklist book, you end up ruining the day because you will be all over.”
The events planner guru who also buys her stuff for deco both locally and in South Africa, said she wouldn’t change her wedding theme if she were to talk down the aisle again.
“Given a chance to wed again, honestly I wouldn’t change anything from what I did 29 years ago,” she said.
“I loved my princess theme back then and would without a doubt walk down the aisle again in a pink ‘fluffy’ ball gown.”
She said people thought that planning was easy, but it actually needed a creative mind.
“It sounds like a fun, glamorous and exciting career and often it is, but it is not an easy job to do,” said Auntie Pet. “You need to be passionate, highly driven and determined in order to succeed.
“Once you are hired, you will have to draw up a master plan that sets out everything that needs to be done and by what deadline.
“This includes coming up with possible themes, suggesting and booking a venue, and negotiating with suppliers such as photographers, florists and caterers — always bearing in mind the amount of money your clients have set aside.
“It is vital you have a comprehensive knowledge of venues, products and suppliers, so a lot of travel and background research is required.”
Auntie Pet opened up on people she would want to work with in the world and locally if given the chance.
“We work with amazing vendors locally who have become family,” she said. “However, I would love to work with well renowned American event planner David Tutera. He has created a name for himself by taking his passion for designing spectacular events and transforming it into a lifestyle.
Auntie Pet is inspired by her sister, Patricia Kambarami, who is in charge of cricket development in Africa and has previously been crowned Gsport Woman of the Year.
The multi-tasking Auntie Pet said her industry was not spared from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has stalled progress in various sectors. “The pandemic was sudden and devastating to the event industry as a whole, from a pretty full calendar for the year, to losing our big events,” she said.
“We had to be creative. Our lobola packages have become popular and a few drive through baby welcomes, among other events. Fortunately for us, because we also offer training services, we were able to focus on our etiquette training programmes.”
Auntie Pet’s associates have also saluted her determination and hard work.
She is married to Eric and they have two daughters, Tsho-Thandeka and Thabile.