The group of fashion-loving young women celebrated their graduation on 1 August at the V&A Waterfront.

We love lighting a creative spark in youth! We were proud to join hands with the African Academy of Fashion in Cape Town recently, to power a Creative Entrepreneurship Course for young women from underserved communities.

The group of 14 fashion-loving women graduated from the eight-week course on 1 August 2022. Seven of these grads have already used their new skills to find formal employment, or to start or upscale their own creative businesses. These young women will add to the growing tally of over 23 800 youth upskilled by Mr Price Foundation since 2018.

“We are passionate about connecting youth to employment and economic opportunities – and the news that seven graduates are already following their dreams is music to our ears. We know this number will continue to rise. We feel privileged to be part of each graduate’s journey of self-discovery and learning,” said Karen Wells, head of Mr Price Foundation.

The African Academy of Fashion was founded by Pauline and Tamburai Chirume. This mother-and-daughter team also co-founded ONEOFEACH, an all-woman company in Cape Town producing luxury fashion accessories and apparel for export. The pair has trained over 100 women since 2019, and helped to place 60% of graduates in employment in the fashion industry.

Tamburai said addressing youth unemployment in South Africa was important to the academy.

“By providing a platform for young women to acquire skills and competencies, we increase their employment and entrepreneurial prospects in the fashion industry. We are excited and grateful to have partnered with Mr Price Foundation to contribute to change,” Tamburai said.

The Creative Entrepreneurship Course focuses on practical and hands-on training for aspiring creative businesswomen. It covers topics such as developing an entrepreneurial mindset; legitimising your small creative business; costing and money management; building a strong brand story; digital business practices; and sustainability and innovation. Sessions were held twice a week at the ONEOFEACH Studio in Loop Street, Cape Town.

“We want to open minds. One of the workshops focused on using waste material, to show students that you can turn nothing into something.  You don’t always need capital to start a business – we started ONEOFEACH using leather offcuts to produce women’s handbags,” said Tamburai.

Abenathi Silingela has used her new skills to start a business handcrafting floral crowns.

One of the graduates, 23-year-old Abenathi Silingela, has used her new skills to start her own business, Floral Halo Crowns, creating handcrafted floral crowns that celebrate women’s beauty and boldness. The course equipped Abenathi with a professionally-designed logo and branding, and she has already received her first order.

“This course helped me to believe in myself again and gave me the confidence to revive my dreams,” said Abenathi.

Another young entrepreneur, Noma Nkuna, has been in business since 2019. She enrolled for the course to learn how to rebrand, restructure and upscale her businesses: a clothing brand and a cut, make, trim (CMT) factory in Fish Hoek producing uniforms, sportswear, swimwear and clothing.

Other key take-home learnings were the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion practices. Noma has already incorporated aspects of this into her clothing business, by using animal-friendly and environmentally-friendly materials and donating 3% of profits to organisations that align with her values of protecting the planet.

“The programme changed my perspective on entrepreneurship. It has been a real game changer for me,” said Noma.

Multifaceted entrepreneur Noma Nkuna is rebranding and upscaling her clothing businesses.

Marylin Siziba, a 21-year-old aspiring fashion designer, is now employed by Threads That Bind Us. “I absolutely love working with them. I am also able to improve my skills and I am excited to learn more. I took two courses: one for creative business and one for garment construction. I am also a small business owner and my dream is to one day have my own unique brand,” said Marylin.

We were inspired to see the warm sisterhood and network of positive role models that this group of graduates has formed. “It was a privilege to partner with ONEOFEACH in empowering South Africa’s young women. We encourage these graduates to continue on their learning journeys and to keep connecting with each other and sharing each other’s successes,” said Karen.

Please click here to support Mr Price Foundation’s training programmes for youth.