Domestic workers gather for change

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By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane

A group of domestic workers from the greater East London have designed a clothing line which is dedicated to women who sacrifice their time with their own families to put food on the table.

Zoliswa Peter, Ntombi Mashiri and Mbuyi Bomvu are the proud designers of the Ngazibini range, a Xhosa term used to express gratitude and thanksgiving. Each design has been named after talented domestic workers. The fabric that has been used is soft linen blend fabric and shweshwe.

Bomvu explained that her work attire is more than just protection for the clothes that she wears underneath and that she takes pride in the work that she does as a domestic worker, saying that, “when I am here, this is my office, so my overall is my suit, ” a mutual feeling for Peter and Mashiri.
The Ngazibini range can be found on the Zoo Collective website, a company founded by Rodé de Jager in November 2009 together with a few ladies during their Zoo mommy bible study.

The Zoo collective is a local brand that started as a range for mothers, which prides itself on creating timeless pieces for women to enjoy in every season of womanhood.
The business has not been without any challenges especially during the pandemic, but they have risen above their challenges and have turned those challenges into positives by identifying the different ways that they could improve their customers’ experiences and giving back to the community.

“Our challenge as a small business was how to support our customers during the pandemic. With our online shop, we added Payflex as a pay gate which gives customers time to pay off items in monthly instalment fees without added interest. We embarked on a new journey with a need for a clothing manufacturer (CMT) in East London. We opened our own CMT in November 2020, called SOW CMT in Berea to create jobs and support other small businesses,” said de Jager.

Rode said her biggest achievement as a businesswoman has been bringing together women from different backgrounds and celebrating one another above competing.

Profits generated by the Ngazibini range will be shared amongst the three ladies. To shop the range, visit https://www.zoocollective.co.za/cpllections/ngazibini.

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