Hard work pays off for Ngoma

2019-09-05 06:01
Fundiswa Ngoma standing while her employees Gcineka Mvenya (blue top) and Mongikazi Sikhephe are working behind the sewing machines.PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

Fundiswa Ngoma standing while her employees Gcineka Mvenya (blue top) and Mongikazi Sikhephe are working behind the sewing machines.PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

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Gone are the days where a woman has to stay at home and become a housewife. We now have to stand up and do it on our own. These were the remarks of a young businesswoman from Khayelitsha who is specialising in making school uniforms for schools in and around the neighbourhood.

Fundiswa Ngoma, the owner of Queen Bees Uniform which is operating at the Khayelitsha Training Centre, is supplying uniforms to 16 schools (both high and primary schools) in Khayelitsha, Delft and Mfuleni.

Ngoma said she started sewing five years ago after she had been unemployed for a while. “After my husband died in 2011 it became hard for me. I was selling chickens (imileqwa) for two years.

“In 2014, I volunteered at Injongo Primary School as literature educator during the weekends and that was where the whole idea of starting this business came about,” said Ngoma.

She said while she was a volunteer she realisd that learners did not wear the same uniform.

“I noticed that their uniforms were designed differently and everyone could see it was not similar. After six months volunteering, I decided to resign and registered at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) for a one-year course in pattern and garment-making.

“Early in 2016, I approached Injongo and requested to make the school uniform for them. Since then I never looked back. I approached other schools and my business grew,” she said.

“I design everything for learners including grey trousers, girls uniform,, skirts, tracksuits, jerseys, blazers, jackets, scarves, beanies, shirts, golf t-shirts and ties,” she said, adding that she also makes tracksuits for clubs and churches.

Ngoma said she hired nine people to assist her. She stated that it never crossed her mind that one day she’d be a businesswoman. “My mother had a sewing machine and we grew up sewing but and I never showed any interest. But because I was desperate and unemployed I saw a gap in the industry especially in the township and I grabbed it with both hands,” she said adding that today they are the biggest school uniform sewing company in Khayelitsha.

“Most companies are still trying hard to get where I am, but it is because some of them only hire two or three people which makes it difficult to compete with me. I’m also creating jobs for other families to alleviate poverty,” said Ngoma.

She said she intends to expand the businnes and become a well-known company in the area. “Currently my challenge is space. I don’t have sufficient space which is forcing me to take fewer orders,” she stated.

Ngoma said when she started her business in 2016 her warehouse was in Athlone.

“I worked in Athlone for a year then the following year I moved to a house in Montclair. I was working in a garage for another year before I moved to the Khayelitsha Training Centre last year. I wish I can get a site and build my own thing or a shipping container where can I work from or an affordable place to rent I don’t mind as long it is in Khayelitsha,” she said.

Advising young businesspeople, Ngoma said they must never stop asking questions if they don’t know something and they must also associate them with the right people who are sharing the same mentality that they have.

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