#MelaninMagic: A celebration of craftsmanship

Image: Supplied

Award-winning textile designer and founder of the Ninevites, Nkuli Mlangeni has collaborated with the Trenery Guild, which showcases South African talent and craftsmanship. Aside from this collaboration, Mlangeni has brought traditional african culture through her textile business, the Ninevites using the art of weaving. 

1. Who is Nkuli Mlangeni?

Mother, traveller, dreamer, creative entrepreneur and maker of things.

2. How would you describe what you do for a living?

We make beautiful things. Inventive designs with made-to-be-touched textures.

Gorgeous objects that take pride of place in discerning homes.

We’re telling a story too. Of black culture and unheard voices. Of age-old traditions in

a modern context. Of heritage and handicraft.

Life, culture, collaboration and inspiration, gathering threads from across the

continent and weaving them all into one story.

3. Please explain what is the Ninevites

The Ninevites is a creative enterprise and collaborative project and

platform to explore under-told narratives of life in Southern Africa using

textiles, imagery and design. It is a celebration of black aesthetics.

4. Have you had any formal training in your field?

Most of the things I do are self-taught. But I did study social innovation,

entrepreneurship and design.

5. Black culture and traditions are the focus of these crafts, but where do you draw other inspiration from?

I also draw inspiration from my people, everyday life, travels, books, Instagram and other people doing cool


Image: Supplied

6. How has this collaboration with the Trenery Guild influenced your business?

It’s a cool brand to be associated with and will open up my work to a new audience.

7. What are some of the challenges you have faced thus far in your career and how did you overcome them?

One of the challenges is trying to find a balance between the creative and the

business side. As a creative I have had to learn a lot about running a business which

has not been very easy. And not having any capital and financial support remains a

challenge not just for me but other young entrepreneurs.

8. What do you think is missing in this industry and how do you plan on changing it?

More black people missing in the South African design space because of lack of

access and I guess I can change it by continuing to play my part, inspiring and

empowering others wherever I can.

9. What has been your greatest achievement to date?

My small contribution in the craft space which is giving work to other women.

10. What are your future plans in terms of the brand and the textile industry?

Will hopefully be working on new products, going back to school to learn weaving

and continue to learn.

Let's take a look at the weaving process:

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.