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Boundless talent and patience – Phakama Ntsodo’s story

Phakama Ntsodo is a beautiful Xhosa woman who has abundant talent when it comes to sewing and teaching students. She is loved by all who find her patient and kind when instructing them.

When Phakama first joined Yes We Can South Africa Foundation in 2018 she knew the basics of sewing but it was quickly established that she had a talent for it. She did her first course with us at the Cape Town Central Library in 2018 when we were offering training to women and “At the time I was doing nothing but had an interest in sewing, so I decided to follow them everywhere and to volunteer my time and eventually became a permanent member sewing and teaching for which I am very grateful”, explains this 41 year old single mother of 2.  

After attending a few of the sewing classes she then started teaching at venues such as the Cape Town Public library, Moses Madiba Library, in Khalyetishta, Samaj Centre, in Rylands, and at our previous Head Quarters in Philippi Village, Philippi.

YWC and the Cape Town Fashion Council (CTFC) collaborated so that the likes of Phakama could do a pattern making course at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Bellville and which was offered by the CTFC. We are always so grateful when these opportunities are sent our way!

This tenacious lady started branching out creating her own sewing business from home and designing (thanks to the pattern making course she attended) the most gorgeous dresses, tops and skirts. She loves to express her African culture through her sewing with these eye catching and vibrant outfits! She has fast become known that if you live in Khayelitsha and you need an outfit made, you go to Phakama, in Makhaza! It has been proven that it is cheaper to have your clothes made than to buy them and she has proved this with a good clientele base. However, with Covid, a lot of her orders were for weddings, birthday celebrations and cultural events which of course have slowed down, but she remains positive that things will pick up again in the not too distant future.

With her ability to facilitate and pass on her talent to others, she continues to teach from home and as a former student, she still receives YWC support through our Facebook page which has almost 10,000 followers and our website. Posting her pictures online gives her business great exposure. She realizes that YWC her stepping stone into creating her own sewing business from home. She teaches a lot of fellow Xhosa women and has created a sisterhood through her work and says “I have created Whatsapp groups to communicate with my students and clients, so keeping the lines of communication open for all.”

Phakama bought an industrial sewing machine which she got on loan from YWC and pays it off by completing sewing orders for us. She was part of our facemask factory team too sewing from home, and contributing to keeping our Health Workers safer during the initial hard lockdown and to date!

Together with other seamstresses of our organisation she attended the Business Essential Course at Learn to Earn in Khayalitsha over a 3 month period which was sponsored by YWC and at present is attending the computer course at the Clothing Bank, which she says is GREAT!

Phakama hands out her business cards wherever she goes so that people are able to place their orders with her. “I would love to own an over-locking sewing machine and this is something I am working towards as it will save me time and give a more professional look to my items”, plans this resilient lady with so much talent and boundless energy who creates fabulous garments and teaches others to get ahead in life!

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