Koketso Mohlala is redefining the art of jewellery design

By Drum Digital
10 March 2015

DRUM speaks to jewellery designer and owner of Ditsala Designs, Koketso Mohlala.

Who is Koketso Ditsala Mohlala?

Koketso Mohlala is a 25-year-old lady from Soshanguve, I was born and raised by my great grandmother in Stinkwater, Hammanskraal.

Ditsala Designs' neckpiece Ditsala Designs' neck piece

Why the name ‘Ditsala’ for your brand?

Ditsala" because I regard everybody who supports my hustle as my friend.

How and when did you start Ditsala designs?

Ditsala was launched in November 2013, with the help of my two business mentors. If it wasn't for them it would be just an idea.

How is your brand empowering other women?

Ditsala is empowering in that I don't work alone. When I get big orders I outsource, I work with ladies from Ngezandla Zethu and bead workers ? from Marabastad, I have four more ladies who are selling my jewellery.

How does it feel to be in a male-dominated field; the workshop?

Working in a male dominated field is not easy but am enjoying myself everyday and I learn a lot from them. And the jewellery industry is? also dominated by white people, being the African new kid in the industry was not easy especially with the kind of designs I am making.

Koketso Mohlala at work Koketso Mohlala at work.

Who or what inspires your designs?

Most of my designs are inspired by Africa and it's people, sometimes by things surrounding me.

You went to the Design Indaba in Cape Town this year, what did you take away from the experience?

Exhibiting at Design Indaba was an eye-opener and a good platform for Ditsala, It hasn't been a month but I already have 3 buyers, one local and two international. ?I learned a lot, actually I came back as a new person.

What message would you like to send out to the nation and the world?

Am tired of seeing fellow Africans following trends that are set by Americans and Europeans, it's high time we show the world that Africa has a rich heritage through design, I am setting an African trend, I am sharing our rich African fashion with the world.  I believe if local people support local designers or brands our standard of living will improve.

Do you feel like local designers are getting the coverage and publicity they deserve?

Local designers are not getting enough coverage; magazines are full of foreign brands and brands that are already big.

Where and when can jewellery-addicts get your items?

My studio is at Seda Platinum Incubator, T?UT Arts Campus, Pretoria.  Email: info@ditsaladesigns.co.za Facebook: Ditsala Designs and Creations Pty Ltd. Instagram: ditsaladesigns

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