IN­SPI­RA­TION Ris­ing above ad­ver­sity

Nobuhle Sibanda pulled her­self to­gether after she was dis­owned by her mother

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Sello Mo­ra­pedi

NOBUHLE Sibanda (37) is a woman with a spirit of re­silience and de­ter­mi­na­tion. At the age of 18 her mother dis­owned her. De­ter­mined to build a bet­ter life for her­self, the mother of three worked hard to be­come a rep­utable fash­ion de­signer.


Nobuhle passed ma­tric with dis­tinc­tions, but her mother told her that she was not going to pay for her stud­ies any­more as she was to be mar­ried to an older rich man the fam­ily had cho­sen for her.

“My aunty had just passed away and my fam­ily wanted me to marry her hus­band. But I re­fused as I was still young and wanted to go to univer­sity,” says Nobuhle.

“After I re­fused to marry my aunt’s hus­band, my mother dis­owned me and life at home be­came ter­ri­ble. That’s when I de­cided to flee to Joburg when I was 18 years old.”


Nobuhle says when she got to the City of Gold, she found a job in a shop, but soon left this job to work as a wait­ress.

She saved money so that she could en­roll for aux­il­liary nurs­ing at Lungile Nurs­ing School and after she com­pleted her stud­ies, she worked as a nurse for four years.

Dur­ing that time, she man­aged to save money to buy a sewing ma­chine and started at­tend­ing sewing classes at the Jo­han­nes­burg Sewing Cen­tre.

“With the sewing ma­chine, I started a new chap­ter in my life,” says Nobuhle, adding that she com­pleted her national diploma in fash­ion and de­sign at the Jo­han­nes­burg Sewing Cen­tre.


Nobuhle then opened a de­sign stu­dio in Julies Park, Jo­han­nes­burg, which was suc­cess­ful. But she closed the busi­ness after she fell vic­tim to rob­bery four times.

“After I closed my stu­dio, I got a job as a de­signer at An­ther­line Cou­ture, which is founded by Matome wa ga Seshoka. Work­ing with Matome was like a dream come true and he was more than my boss; he was more like a brother, friend and men­tor. He taught me ev­ery­thing about de­sign­ing and showed me the ropes of the in­dus­try.” She says she has de­signed dresses for the likes of Khanyi Mbau, Hlubi Mboya and Kgo­motso Christo­pher to name a few. Lady luck smiled on Nobuhle yet again when she was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to work in the Sey­chelles de­sign­ing clothes for the royal fam­ily.


After re­turn­ing from the Sey­chelles, where she spent a year, Nobuhle opened an­other de­sign stu­dio in Benoni, where she de­signs African evening dresses and white wed­ding dresses.

“I also do spe­cial or­ders. Cus­tomers come to me with an idea of what they want and I do it for them,” says Nobuhle.

She will be work­ing with the non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Morongwa Youth Events and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment, where she will be de­sign­ing dresses for the par­tic­i­pants of the Miss Phenom­i­nal Queen Gaut­eng beauty pageant.

“I also have four learn­ers that I am teach­ing to sew as a means of in­spir­ing young peo­ple to follow their dreams,” adds Nobuhle.

Nobuhle Sibanda spent a year in the Sey­chelles, where she worked as a fash­ion de­signer for the royal fam­ily, an op­por­tu­nity that honed her skills

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