South African Manyaku Mositsa is a 31-year-old dreamer and achiever who grew up on the dusty roads of Mohlaletse Ga Sekhukhune. Though a graduate of Biotechnology from the University of Johannesburg, Manyaku left paid employment to pursue her passion for fashion. She just wasn’t happy with wearing the overalls that came with her job in SAB laboratory.
Now a fashion designer, Manyaku has expanded to make her passion for empowering women with skills and experience a reality through her organisation, Giving Hope. SLA contributor Makalele spoke to Manyaku on fashion, inspiration and managing multiple initiatives.
You could have chosen any other career path. Why fashion?
It started as a hobby. Since I was five, I’ve liked dressing up. I loved wearing mommy’s clothes and doing the catwalk in front of the mirror. But I never imagined doing it for a living.
As a young girl, I dressed differently because I thought the kind of clothes I wanted were just not available in clothing stores. In 2005, during my in-service training at SAB laboratory, I would dress up to work even though I knew I would need to change into a work suit and safety boots.
Though I enjoyed the job, I never really liked wearing overalls. Finally, in 2010, I decided to pursue my dream for fashion by taking part time classes in dressmaking.
I did the fashion business part time till in 2014 when I left my full-time job to fulfill my passion.
My personal philosophy is, ”the best way to master something is by actively doing it with a strong will.”
What is your favourite part of being a fashion designer?
I love that I can be unique, inspire others and of course, turn heads.
Your designs are so good. What inspires them?
My inspiration comes from the desire to prove to myself and the world that ladies in dresses can be fashionable too.
I also get my inspiration from unique fabrics and textures. My celebrity muse also plays a major role.
What’s fashion to you?
Fashion is simply dressing and accessorizing in style.
You’ve got to have an eye for it. This is how successful fashion designers are able to create trends.
Aside fashion, you’re involved in other projects. Tell us about your current project, Giving Hope.
Giving Hope is a division of UD Holdings aimed at empowering young women with skills and work experience. We help them become employable and young entrepreneurs.
The focus is on designing, clothing production, shoe making , bags and hats manufacturing , beauty therapy as well as events management.
How do you manage running a fashion house and an organization?
My love for what I do wakes me up every morning. This is where I get my drive for the day. This is not something you get to learn in school.
I run both ventures in the same premises and that has made managing them a whole lot easier.
I had to learn to stop procrastinating and just do it. Of course I’ve had some challenges but it’s worth it.
What do you do for fun?
The nice thing about this industry is you can work while having fun.
Traveling, fashion shows, photo shoots, getting myself pampered all form a part of my fun activities and work too.
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