INSPIRATION Rising above adversity
Nobuhle Sibanda pulled herself together after she was disowned by her mother
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.
LEAVING HOME AT A YOUNG AGE
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.”
STARTING A NEW LIFE
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.
WORKING AS A DESIGNER
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