WATCH | Crocheting pair knit their way off the streets with help from an 'angel'

2019-08-15 12:47
Precious Ngwenya (40) holds two of her children's favourite animals at her home in Mamelodi, Pretoria. (Chante Schatz, News24)

Precious Ngwenya (40) holds two of her children's favourite animals at her home in Mamelodi, Pretoria. (Chante Schatz, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Two years ago, Precious Ngwenya decided to teach herself a skill to earn a small income and send money to her family back home in Zimbabwe.

But she could never have guessed that it would one day turn into a booming business that would help reunite her and her children. 

"I have three children [who] I don't get to see because things at home are so tough," she told News24.

The 40-year-old mother who lives in Pretoria, moved to South Africa three years ago for a better life and to financially support her family in Harare.

Reflecting on her journey in a small one-bedroom apartment in Mamelodi, Ngwenya showed off her creations - an array of colourful soft toys.

"The lamb is my favourite animal to crochet, but it is also the hardest one," she explained.

Ngwenya started crocheting animals to sell to motorists in Pretoria.

"My sister-in-law taught me how to knit. It was hard in the beginning but now I can make about four a day."

crochet animals

Precious Ngwenya and Dorcas Ncube spend hours knitting various soft animals to support their families. (Chanté Schatz, News24)

Making a living

"Precious taught me how to knit two months ago so that I can also make some money to send to my family in Zimbabwe," said 41-year-old Dorcas Ncube who shares a room with Ngwenya.

Ncube moved to South Africa in 2014, also to seek a better life for herself and support her family.

"It's hard to find a job this side, so we try to make our own money by knitting and selling these animals," Ncube said.

For two months, the two set out on a mission to sell their knitted animals across the road from the Atterbury Value Mart.

"We would knit for the whole week and then go and sell them on the street during the weekend. Sometimes we only sell one or two animals. Other days we don't sell at all," Ngwenya said.

"It was hard because we had to catch a taxi with all our knitted animals and a table. Sometimes the taxi drivers don't want us to get in with the table because it takes up space."

Their 30-minute commute only rewarded them with a few hundred rand for a full week's work.

crochet animals

Dorcas Ncube (41) with her children's favourite knitted animals. (Chanté Schatz, News24)

'Angel from heaven'

This all changed when Rochelle Klopper, a businesswoman from Centurion, came across a Facebook post about their work.

"There was a calling for me to assist these ladies, so I made contact with them to ask if anybody was assisting them," said Klopper.

Klopper told News24 she wanted to help them ensure their goods reached the right target market. She assisted the ladies with their own Facebook page and online store.

"From there, we have been contacted by quite a few large companies for standing orders."

Up and running

Precious Creations racked up 200 orders in the first week online.

"The idea is now for them to get off the street. Sometimes they go out and they don't sell anything and end up having to beg for taxi money to get home," she said.

"Rochelle is an angel straight from heaven. She really is helping us help our families and we are so grateful for her," said Ncube.

Thanks to the surge in income, both Ngwenya and Ncube will be able to spend the festive season with their families back home later this year.

crochet artists

Precious Ngwenya (left) and Dorcas Ncube crochet in their home in Mamelodi, Pretoria. (Chanté Schatz, News24)

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    pretoria  |  good news

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.