Ndlovhu sisters do textile decoration, sewing and design

Ndlovu Sisters

The Zimbabwean Ndlovu Sisters specialise in African fashion design, beading,  making traditional African outfits, curtains, bed spreads, bags and batik work.“In Zimbabwe where we come from, people don’t wear traditional attire that much anymore. One still see the love for African flowery fabrics, long garments and dooks, but it is not as colourful and distinctly Venda or Tsonga as the women on the streets of Limpopo in South Africa” says Truth Ndlovu.

New skills learnt at Madi a Thavha

The two heart-friends Truth and Tendai Ndlovu are more like sisters. They met each other in South Africa where they both did a sewing course at Madi a Thavha sponsored by the Jesuit refugee Services (JRS) in Makhado. During 2014 they attended a training workshop in textile painting and batik done with flour and maize-techniques which was facilitated by Nonnie Mathe, a well known textile artists who works in Bulawayo national Art Gallery in Zimbabwe.

At Madi a Thavha’s Textile & Design studio they work on a Sweswe interior range ideal for African lodges too. These come in colour ranges of beige/black, aqua blue and orange/green red. The products in this range are items like oven gloves, table runners, aprons, pencil bags, potholders, cushion covers, serviettes, round place mats, long place mats and now also Sweswe toiletry bags. Madi a Thavha also trained the Ndlovu sisters to produce dolls on order for an initiative run by two women, one based in the UK and the other in Johannesburg – the idea is to buy 2 dolls at the same time, to then keep one doll and to donate the other to a needy child in South Africa.

If sewing and handwork is learnt at primary school

“These very motivated women really have good sewing skills. Our experience is that Zimbabwean women have a high level of creative skills in the field of drawing and designing and that they are also very advanced in sewing, embroidering, bead work, knitting and crocheting. It is because they learned this in primary and high school. It is really a pity that these skills are not taught in Zimbabwean or in South African schools anymore,” says Marcelle.

Makahdo a second stop for refugees

Zimbabwe has a population of 12 million. It is estimated that approximately 2-3 million Zimbabweans live and work in South Africa. Makhado/Louis Trichardt lies 100km south of the Limpopo River with Beitbridge being the border post between the two countries. Louis Trichardt/Makhado lies behind the second northern frontier, the Soutpansberg Mountains. When refugees pass the border JRS supports them where there is a need e.g. in skills training programmes.

Contact details

Tendai Sandaku 079 6396825

Truth Ndlovu 084 6286982