YOUNG DESIGNER STITCHES HIS PATH
*Caption: Fashion designer Siyabonga Zondi poses for a photograph
Written by: Zama Ngcoya
A great lover of fashion and a committed member to the prosperity of the people in his community, 25-year-old Siyabonga Zondi is slowly climbing the ladder to becoming one of South Africa’s best fashion designers.
Zondi was born in the year 1991 on the 17th of February into a middle class family, and has five other siblings, including his twin brother.
Growing up in the area of unit 4 in the township of Hammarsdale, Zondi’s childhood was much like any other. He enjoyed playing outside in the streets of his hometown with his peers, and was a very outspoken young fellow. He attended his primary schooling at Maxulwini Primary School, before progressing to Luthayi High School.
Although he attended school on a daily basis, Zondi’s heart was set on other avenues. His love for fashion, and following the latest trends had this young man fully amped and inspired to follow his first love. So, while in the eleventh grade, he decided to drop out of high school to go and study fashion design at Durban College.
“I wanted to be independent and do what I love more than anything. I was also more inspired to do fashion design because it’s what I was very good at doing. I loved sewing clothing from a very young age and I was very good at it so I decided to pursue it,” said Zondi.
Upon finishing his studies of fashion design at the college, he continued with what he knew best, and put his talents to practice by designing clothing items for other designers, and other lovers of fashion.
Zondi’s passion for cotton inspired him to start up his own school of fashion design.
“I have a school at which I teach fashion design. It is called Thembani Community Development. I am someone who loves working very closely with the community. I used to help homeless people and orphans wherever I could and I had always hoped that everyone would be a success so I decided to open this school of fashion design to also teach and equip those interested in fashion design, with the necessary skills,” explained Zondi.
Because he was still young and didn’t necessarily possess all the necessary skills to run such a big project when the school was established in the year 2007, he decided to get assistance with everything pertaining to the school, and when he was old enough and independent, he took over the reins and ran the school on his own.
Since being in the fashion design industry, Zondi has achieved some of his goals as a fashion designer.
“I would say for me, my success lies in the prosperity of my students. The people whom I have taught fashion design are now employed. Most of them are employed at different firms and it makes me really proud to know that I have played a huge part in their growth,” he enlightened.
Not everything is sunshine and roses for this young designer. Some of the most challenging parts of his career are when a client complains about a piece of work which he has produced. He also encountered difficulty securing premises for his school of fashion in the beginning and as a result, he was forced to move and run it from the garage of his home.
He is currently employed by another company where he operates large machinery and produces cotton, runs his own school for fashion design and designs clothing for his other clients.
Zondi has big dreams for his future.
“In the upcoming years, I wish to mastering my craft and becoming the most recognised and successful fashion designer. I also wish to see myself travelling overseas. However, most importantly, I wish for my school to grow to a higher level than where it currently is,” he said.
He also shared words of encouragement for other young upcoming people out there.
“My message for other youngsters out there is that in whatever you wish to become, do not pay attention to any negativity that comes from other people. Do whatever you need to do to become a success and follow your heart,” concluded Zondi.