WSU fashion department technician, Sibusisiwe Nodada developed her love for the craft from watching her mother knit and her grandmothers weave, an experience that inspires her to go above and beyond her call of duty to help her fashion design students.


In addition to growing up in an artistic family, Nodada has been in the creative industry for more than 12 years.


“I was born into an artistic family. My grandmother from my mother’s side was a weaving teacher, and my gran from my father’s side was a ceramist and basket weaver. I used to work with my grandmothers all the time. My mother would knit jerseys when she came back from her professional work as a teacher,” said Nodada.


Nodada who lectures 2D and 3D Entrepreneurship and Professional Skills challenged her second year students’ creativity with the task to design garments using waste materials as displayed below.


She added that her creative lecturer moulded her career and made her see that the fashion industry could also be seen from a business point of view. She used to manage a small boutique that specialised in crafts and clothing.





Nodada said she first studied Food Service Management, thinking that the course was about cooking but found out that she had no passion for the course.


“When I was doing my second year I figured that Food Service Management was not what I wanted to do. Then I saw fashion students carrying their portfolios around and I knew that it was who I was meant to be,” said Nodada.


She has been involved with various well known fashion shows including the Berlin November fashion show, she said she saw that at the beginning of the event there was a huge gap that didn’t cater to the fashion industry. Nodada helps out at the fashion show, and has created an opportunity for students to participate in the show, by helping out backstage and showcasing some of their designs.


“I saw an opportunity to develop Eastern Cape designers and I have seen how difficult it is for our students to obtain exposure in the industry. So I approached the Berlin November organizers and we started off showcasing our former student’s designs in the fashion show,” said Nodada.


Nodada encourages students to work hard, be proactive and to look at every angle of the fashion industry.


“Don’t study fashion with the idea that fashion is just fashion. Look at it from all aspects of life. Every subject that you have in class is important as it gives you ideas about what you can focus on once you are qualified” said Nodada.


She has also been involved in the Buyelekhaya fashion development programme which gives students the opportunity to showcase their designs and compete for a spot to be mentored by the likes of fashion icon, David Tlale.


“Buyelekhaya gives a lot to the WSU community. They come and engage the students and encourage them to enter into a fashion show and pick those who have potential and give them the chance to be mentored by designers such as David Ntlale. I sit in the panel because I know the students’ strengths and what they are capable of producing,” said Nodada.


Nodada will be doing her masters in fashion as of next year with the aim of later incorporating the IsiXhosa heritage into the main stream fashion industry.



By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane


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