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Here's how Palesa Mokubong is mentoring SA’s next best designers

Thango Ntwasa Columnist
Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung.
Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung.
Image: instagram.

The Buyelekhaya Festival is one of the Eastern Cape’s hottest but the real heat of this year’s celebrations are cooking at the fashion studio of designer Palesa Mokubong’s Mantsho.

The fashion brand has taken in 10 young designers for the Buyel’ Ekhaya fashion development programme which will see them showcase their designs at the annual festivities this year.

Having had a stellar year at SA Fashion Week and her collaboration with Swedish retailer H&M, Mokubong has owned 2019 as one of the leading designers in SA. However, this was not always the case for Mokubong who struggled as an up-and-coming designer herself.

“When I started I didn’t have the confidence to walk up to a designer and ask them to help me out. So, I thought how about I make the first move and open up my doors here at Mantsho,” says Mokubong who shares she has been teaching them about the ins and outs of her studio and the technical secrets behind fashion design.

Set to show their designs next to local legends such as Mzukisi Mbane of Imprint and Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa, among others, the young designers were challenged to create garments that fuse a South African tribe with that of another within the continent in 10 days.

With social media as some of the learning points taught to the young designers, Mokubong says she made sure to open their minds to lessons that are often uncommon in the classroom.

“It’s not an uncomfortable lecture in the classroom with a textbook. It's conversations about real incidences that I have come across in the industry that we will come across,” says Mokubong.

The Buyel’ Ekhaya Festival will kick off with the fashion show on December 13 at Hemingways Mall in East London.