Queen of Seshweshwe comes to the Eastern Cape to showcase her designs

By Uyanda Mjanyelwa

Bongiwe Walaza is an international designer and is based in the Gauteng province. She has a National Diploma qualification in electrical engineering which she obtained at Peninsula Tech. Walaza also studied fashion at Natal Technikon and obtained her National Diploma in fashion. Her passion for designing began at an early where she used to help her mother with sewing as her mother was a dressmaker.

 “I used to see her making clothes then I would join her. On the side I started making clothes for dolls then also for myself with the scraps and in no time I was really assisting my mother when she was not there to make things for her clients,” said Walaza. As she was working for Telkom she started designing and making dresses for herself and soon built a loyal client base. Whilst working Walaza bought herself a fabric which she used to make herself a dress and people started being interested and placed orders and in no time her house was packed with cars with people who wanted her to make stuff for them.

The Queen of Seshweshwe is now here in the Eastern Cape as she was approached by local designer, Linda Sithole. As one may say, it is very rare for black designers to be under one roof as they are known to be competing against each other but not these two ladies. Bongiwe Walaza will have her own rail of designs in Linda Sithole’s “Total Confusion Boutique.” Walaza mentioned that for her it was an honour to be approached by Sithole and she expressed how humbled she was as for her it was a breakthrough because it is another thing being known as an international designer but another to take your things to the markets.

“God has opened that door for me through Linda so that I can be off reach within the reach of Eastern Cape and all those who are Linda’s clients,” said Walaza.

Bongiwe has worked closely with the renowned local textile company Da Gama Textiles which is the sole producer of the authentic seshweshwe fabric. She is the product developer of their Madiba range. Bongiwe has showcased and exhibited her designs in New York, India, Las Vegas, London, Switzerland, Japan, Milan, Vietnam, Singapore, to name a few. Walaza’s designs can be purchased in her studio in Midrand, at House of Nala in Sandton, at African Fashion International Nala boutique online store and now also at Total Confusion Boutique (in Hemingways and in Berea).

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