The creative director of educational arts non-profit Lalela, Sandy Tabatznik showcased the work of their students at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair last month.
The works were printed on scarves and pocket squares.
Ms Tabatznik said she had a love for fashion from a young age and enjoyed creating art.
She was born and raised in Johannesburg and describes herself as having been a colourful child.
After high school, she went to Damelin College to study a course she did not enjoy.
“More than anything, I knew that I wanted to be in the fashion industry, therefore, at the age of 19, I moved to New York.”
She studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and shortly after she completed her studies, she said that she found herself in the fast paced industry where she ended up dedicating 15 years of her life.
“During the time I was working, I had my first child in 1993, where I took a few months off to focus on my newborn.”
She said she spent eight months at home, however, she found something to do in the meantime and that was when her previous company, Sleeping Partners, was born.
The establishment primarily focused on baby bedding, linen made from fashion fabric and pyjamas.
When her second child was born, she said, she sold her company, but when her third child was born, she met her “Lalela co-partner,” at a school both their children went to in New York.
“In the event of meeting up, we had a brief conversation about her going to Uganda to help former child soldiers.”
Her co-partner said she had also wanted to make a difference in South Africa.
“I was sold,” she said. “I have always had a desperate need and want to give back to my home country more especially because I was born in the apartheid era and being a white person at the time came with its own privileges.”
Lalela in the Zulu language means to listen.The non-profit organisation, which started operating in 2010, focuses on art and giving back. She said the programme initially had 20 students but today, “we have about 5 000 in our programmes across Africa.”