Sinakho project proves “we can”

2016-06-09 06:00
The sewing graduates of Sinakho during their passing out parade.  PHOTO: martha qumba

The sewing graduates of Sinakho during their passing out parade. PHOTO: martha qumba

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Sinakho Leadership Support and Skills Development Centre in Langa held a graduation ceremony for students who have completed a two month sewing course, .at Guga’sthebe Community Art Centre last week.

Nontuthuzelo Pahlana and Dr Mthobeli Guma, a former lecturer at the University of the Western founded the centre in 2011.

It offers various skills programs and sewing is one of these.

The participants were mostly drawn from unemployed women and men and youngsters.

At the event the students were all proudly flashing out their beautiful and stylish outfits.

Each student was awarded with a certificate and a brand new sewing machine.

The students had never even touched a sewing machine prior to the course.

Lena Kleinbooi was one of those.

“I have learnt a lot in communication and how to believe in myself. I have sewn camouflage and jeans because our boys like quality and sport stuff. Now I know how to sew and it will keep me busy. (the skills) will help us women and the community and alleviate unemployment and poverty.

Bongiwe Mkhoba said: “I have come to learn that sewing should be measured in centimetres. I didn’t think that I’ll be able to sew one day,”.

Noncedo Papu said she had loved handiwork from a young age.

“I have a passion for sewing. Growing up, I used to collect rags and fabric off cuts and made a skirt out of them. I wanted to sew for a long time but I didn’t know. Now I know everything about it and at home I’ll sew for them. It would help other women too. Here we had an opportunity to share ideas and we’ll take this forward to make a bigger project,” she said.

She also mentioned that her sisters were very much supportive and she took a photo of their graduation and sent them, for them to see what was she talking about?

Tamara Nketle from Gugulethu said it was a big and important day in her life.

“This is to develop women, kids and grannies. I’m a single parent and I want my kids to further their studies and with sewing I can be able to do that.

Lindelwa Masete from Langa said she was proud of her achievement.

“I saw a pamphlet in one of the old flats and I had an interest in taking part. In 2004 I was part of a sewing project but we never made an outfit.”

Among graduates were two youngsters, one was Thembelihle Mvuvu,12, and a girl named Lelethu both from Langa.

Thembelihle said: “I heard about this course from my aunt who makes bags and I was interested because I love sewing. I attended the course for two days a week. My transport would drop me here from school. I’m happy I have done this course and also about the machine,” he says.

His mother, Fundiswa Mvumvu said her dad was a motor mechanic and he used small rags for cleaning and wiping and her son would collect them and keep them inside the house.

“My son would collect all those pieces and sew them together. I used to shout at him, telling him he was making the house dirty. I didn’t understand him at that time.

From those pieces he made a bag. I encouraged him to do this course because he loved sewing. I’m proud of my son with all of my heart,” she says.

Sinakho board member Mathabo Pharella said the day was long overdue.

“Sinakho touched the relevant youth and women. I think Sinakho will go far. This skill will never die...We are pushing to get more land for this project,” she says.

Thobeka Mvuvu, one of the instructors, said sewing was one of her subjects at boarding school and she did it because she was not allowed to do agriculture because she was a girl. In 2013 she left her job.

“I make leather bags and sell them. My mother is also sewing at home. We did a traditional outfit and sewing is also seasonal. It was a bit difficult because some didn’t have money to buy fabric for sewing. With sewing there’s no way that your kids can go to bed on a hungry stomach,” she says.

Dr Guma said the graduation was a deep seated realization of their common efforts and vision.

“Life is not a bad of roses as it has its ups and downs, but if you have a vision, you will succeed. Knowledge gives you an environment to achieve whatever your plans,” he said.

Phahlana said Sinakho’s philosophy is to unleash and nurture young people’s talent from very young and they must not wait till they 18 years old.

The event was also attended by sponsors Cape Union Mart, a clothing retailer and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Celestine Steegmans from Cape Union Mart Procurement said:

“Cape Union Mart’s involvement was to give the students exposure to the K-Way factory and it’s capabilities with regards to creating employment.”

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