Working with fabric has been part of Tinyiko Mabunda’s family since her mother started making a living as a fashion designer.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, she decided to take it a step further by introducing crocheting and knitting to her love for fabrics.
Mabunda, who owns Vahlave Knits and Crochet in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, started knitting and crocheting last year in March when the lockdown started.
“I started knitting clothes after I saw people’s love for handmade clothes such as the ones I make. I noticed that crocheting is very flexible because people can come up with their own designs which I then incorporate into my work for them,” she told Vutivi News.
“I discovered that I love crocheting, even though I did not know how to crochet. I approached my mom and told her that I wanted to learn how to crochet, and luckily she said that she started out crocheting dresses and clothes for us at home even though she wouldn’t sell it.”
It took Mabunda a month to learn how to crochet, which she then put to commercial use.
She crochets a wide variety of items such as jerseys, cardigans, beanies, dresses and toddlers’ clothes.
Mabunda, who also uses plastic in her designs, said she allowed her customers free reign on the design of their clothes.
“When it comes to colours and designs, I don’t choose them on my own. When a customer wants a particular design and they want me to use a particular colour, they inform me and I use those colours as per their specifications,” she said.
“This allows me to be flexible and does not limit my creativity.”
Mabunda also prides herself on ensuring that her work is neat, as taught by her mother.
“Whenever my customers compliment me, they always say that my work is neater and much more presentable than other crocheted clothes they have ordered, and this makes them come back for more,” she said.
Mabunda next wants to teach someone else how to crochet to help keep up with the orders.
“My aim is also to teach other people to crochet so that they can return to the love of knitting clothes not only for themselves but also so that they can feed their families,” she said.
Mabunda said her dream is to own a factory so she could employ 100 people.
“My passion for teaching will manifest in this manner, as I am willing to teach anyone from any part of the country to crochet. I also want to teach children how to crochet because there was a time where our parents were taught how to sew and crochet in school.”
She believes these subjects are important, especially for pupils who do not have a knack for academic subjects.
“It is important to have such skills because there is a growing demand for handmade clothes, and anyone can learn how to do this, whether you’re a doctor or a nurse or even a lawyer,” she said.
Mabunda is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in education.