Lo­cally de­signed eth­nic wear for kid­dies

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - More Mat­shediso

Afe­male owned co­op­er­a­tive is look­ing to im­prove the econ­omy of Queen­stown in the Eastern Cape through man­u­fac­tur­ing eth­nic clothes for chil­dren.

Sikhona co­op­er­a­tive is a clothes man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany that fo­cuses on de­sign­ing school uni­forms and eth­nic clothes for chil­dren. It was es­tab­lished in 2007 by five women in the area.

Sikhona Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Khosi Jayiya said the co­op­er­a­tive ini­tially de­signed eth­nic clothes for adults women but de­cided to fo­cus on chil­drens wear and school uni­forms be­cause they saw a gap in the mar­ket.

“The beauty of our work is that chil­dren will al­ways need clothes and new school uni­form ev­ery year,” she added.

Jayiya is a qual­i­fied fash­ion de­signer, who used to own a bou­tique but de­cided to part­ner with four other women from her area to start the co-op­er­a­tive.

“It was dif­fi­cult in the be­gin­ning as we had dif­fer­ent vi­sions about the di­rec­tion that we wanted our co-op­er­a­tive to take. We have fallen many times but we never stopped ris­ing and now our busi­ness is start­ing to grow,” she said.

The high rate of un­em­ploy­ment in their small town en­cour­ages them to keep go­ing so that they can con­trib­ute to­wards in their com­mu­nity.

The co-op has so far cre­ated five per­ma­nent jobs for women in the area.

“We started as a small busi­ness but we have grown to and we now a fac­tory, which was made pos­si­ble by Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” she said.

The fac­tory com­prises 371 square me­tres with part of it be­ing used for man­u­fac­tur­ing clothes. The rest of the space is used for NQF level 1 cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing classes, which are of­fered by mem­bers of the co-op­er­a­tive.

Jayiya said the co-op­er­a­tive has trained about 20 peo­ple in cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“Our goal is to have a vi­brant and suc­cess­ful busi­ness that con­trib­utes to the devel­op­ment of our com­mu­nity. We want to im­prove the eco­nomic con­di­tions in our small town, start­ing with our­selves and those around us,” she said.

She said the co-op has clients from all over the coun­try and caters for di­verse cul­tural and eth­nic groups.

“We want to im­prove the

eco­nomic con­di­tions of our small town, start­ing with our­selves and those around


Sikhona Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Khosi Jayiya saw a gap in the mar­ket and de­cided to man­u­fac­ture eth­nic clothes for chil­dren.

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