Who is Santa Anzo? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, relationships, age, family, career, early life and education of the Arapapa fashion house founder.
Santa Anzo is a Ugandan fashion designer, fashionista, businesswoman, who is also the founder, chief fashion designer and managing director of the Arapapa fashion house, based in Kampala Uganda‘s capital city.
Santa is also the founder and president of Uganda international fashion week and this is an annual fashion exhibition.
She has represented the country on multiple international fashion festivals including the fashion for peace international initiative, Kenya fashion week, Mozambique fashion week, Swahili fashion week in Dar es salaam and Africa fashion month and many more others.
Santa started professionally as a model with fashion icon Sylvia Owori’s the then zipper models.
Early life and education
Santa Anzo was born in 1975 in Uganda and her parents come from the Moyo district in the West Nile sub-region of Uganda. She attended old Kampala primary school before joining Bat valley primary school where she finished her primary education.
After her primary education, she joined Madhvani College in Wailaka, Jinja district where she finished her O level education and she joined Progressive secondary education school in Bweyogerere, Wakiso district where she completed her A level studies and obtained her certificate in UACE.
She then enrolled on Dolphins fashion school in Kampala where she graduated with a diploma in fashion design.
In 1995, Santa started as a waitress at Kampala Casino where she made a name because of a model a figure that attracted most of the customers and this made her be a darling at the place.
She didn’t only do waitress job but in the evening she used to mime Whitney Houston songs in a way this made her bosses love her more and she recalls her first salary being 120,000shs.
In 1999 she met Sylvia Owori who was in the modelling industry and together they started Ziper models with Anzo managing the business although she had no experience.
Anzo worked as the salesperson, model trainer and fashion model, she managed the finances and choreographed fashion shows. Their relationship lasted for 16 months before Anzo left Ziper models but it was on good terms.
In 2001 Santa left Ziper Models and started Arapapa which means butterfly in her native language. After two years she launched the Uganda international fashion week.
She has showcased her designs at multiple fashion festivals including the fashion for peace initiative, Kenya fashion week, Mozambique fashion week, Swahili fashion week da es salaam, Tanzania Africa fashion exchange, in Durban, South Africa among others.
When asked if her parents were ok when she joined the modelling world Santa says they weren’t ok and they could even spend a year without even calling her to see how she is coping up with the city.
Awards and honours
Second position for the East African designer of the year award at Swahili fashion week, December 2012, in Nairobi, Kenya.
First prize transformers appreciation award, December 2016 in Kampala, Uganda.
Pioneer groundbreaking awards by Uganda women entrepreneurs association, icon and the international labour organization. Showcased at the African fashion exchange 2018 in Durban, South Africa.
Lifetime fashion icon achievement award in 2015.
In 2014, the President of the United Nations Security Council recognized Santa Azo as one of the 87 women that have scaled heights in Uganda; she is applauded for an invaluable role in pioneering African fashion and modelling careers in Uganda.
In 1995 she was in a relationship with a guy she met at the casino but the relationship didn’t work out because her partner wasn’t ok with her modelling career and he wanted marriage yet Santa wasn’t ready for it.
She later meant another guy who was a Luo but American born the relationship lasted for 16 years although it didn’t proceed to marriage.