Grahamstown resident, Nomalungelo Tshunungwa, keeps busy despite not being formally employed. As well as being a mother of two children, Tshunungwa fills her spare time with creativity. Some would call it ‘upcycling’, Tshunungwa redesigns old shoes, hand bags, hats and other accessories.
Her creative inspiration comes after a trip to Durban in 2012, where she noticed the popularity of Shweshwe fabric and designs.
“The problem is, I’m not working. I just think out of the box to do this stuff. There is no one who teaches me, I just think [that]if I can recover some bags, some shoes, some hats, then I go for it!”
For three years, she has only used fabric glue, beads and Shweshwe fabric to re-glamourise old accessories and shoes.
“I walk around in town and the location and people keep on asking me, ‘Where did you get this? Where did you buy them?”. That is how I get customers,” she said. “From that day I could see that people were interested in my work.”
Tshunungwa started taking orders from community members, but sat times they would fail to pick up their new merchandise and Tshunungwa would not be paid. “The problem is money, alot of people said they can’t send me a deposit because they do not [know me].”
Her prices range from R75 for re-covered hand bags and R50 for takkies.
“I’m doing lots of stuff, but everything needs money.”
In the future, Tshunungwa hopes to be able to have a container to run her business from. That way, community members could easily come and place orders or make purchases.
Community members can find Tshunungwa on Facebook, “Noma’s Shweshwe Designs” or contact her at 082 390 9911.