David Tlale on his late mother Joyce: ‘She raised us in the ’hood and taught us to survive’


Fashion Guru and local fashion designer David Tlale has always had a close relationship with his mother Joyce Tlale and he will always be grateful to her for making him the man he is, theirs was a relationship that revealed a soft and caring side to David as opposed to the mean perfectionist business man he is when it comes to his craft.

After battling with a short sickness Joyce Tlale died at 75 on Sunday 18 August 2019.

READ MORE: David Tale reveals sumptuous new collection

In an interview they both did with DRUM, David had only beautiful things to say about his now late mother, displaying the love and adoration he had for her.

“My mother taught me a lot, such as if you make the right choices in life, you’ll go a long way. Today I’m a global brand but she taught me to always be appreciative of my humble beginnings.” He said.

Recalling her journey as a single mother who raised her four children on a domestic worker’s salary, Joyce said, “I didn’t have an easy life without a husband, but I didn’t want to see my children suffering as I did,” she says. “So that’s why I used to do my best.”

READ MORE: David Tale is seeing red

David Tlale created a collection for his mother and women like her.

“I always wanted to play dress up with my mother,” he said.

“But she never did the best for herself, only for us – which is why I wanted to return the favour.” And that favour was making her the star of his collection. The theme was Let’s Play Dress Up, and the idea was to ditch the minimalist look and bring back the drama of fashion. The reception it had was nothing short of phenomenal for the seasoned designer, who celebrated a milestone of 15 years in the industry in 2018.

“The collection brought my mom and me closer to the general public and dispelled the negative impression that ‘this one never smiles’. David will forever be grateful to his mother for his upbringing.

“She raised us in the ’hood and taught us to survive.  She was a single parent but there was never a day when we went to school without food in our stomachs, lunch in our bags and decent school uniforms on our backs.” He said.

Speaking to W24 about his late mom, David went down memory lane about how much of an influence she has been to him.

“My mom influenced my fashion sense. Over the years I celebrated how we used to dress up and look good when we went to church on Sundays. But lately my mom became my muse who inspired me on how I see matured and elderly women graciously stylish on a continuous basis.  Working with her over the past few years was phenomenal,” he said.

“We literally played dress up and feel good with make up, clothes and accessories because I know the power of clothing, when you look good you feel good. Even at times when she would say ‘I’m tired mtanami (my child), it was a beautiful journey I’m so blessed to have taken with her,” David recalls.

“Granny was not a typical model, there was a beautiful bond between me and her and I think those intimate moments having her in studio to shoot a campaign and style her on a daily basis were precious and demanding too in a candid manner,” he tells W24.

“It made her proud to see her son working with her. I will always cherish the interactions we had. The sassy and witty comments she would make during the shoots were fantastic,” he says.

“She was a mother, a fan and a friend. I will miss her wise words when she always reminded me that ‘David my son, nothing beats God’. We would sit at home and talking about life, she would always remind us about the power of trusting in God, kneeling and praying. Today I’m a man standing her from her teachings and I will eternally be grateful to my mother,” he shares.

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