As the manager of a textile store in the CBD, Thina Ntshiqa works every day with fabric of different prints and patterns.
However, she would love nothing more than to see her own designs on the material.
Thina, 26, graduated with a Diploma in Surface Design from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in 2017.
Whether it is designing patterns for a T-shirt, a piece of furniture or even book covers, she said she loves the versatility of the process.
“It was the creative problem-solving concept that I was drawn to,” she says.
Thina dreams of collaborating with big innovative brands.
She furthered her education with a BTech in 2018 but had not been offered the opportunity to use her qualification until she joined the newly opened Ankara Textiles store on the corner of Long and Riebeeck streets in December last year.
She works as a store manager, sales person and “everything else that requires the store to run.”
The store sells clothing made from African wax-print fabric.
“I am grateful for the opportunity because I now have my foot in the door; this is indeed a step in the right direction.”
She said her own business would focus on collaborating with textile, sculpture, paintings and fashion specialists.
“I just need capital for my business and getting it will be a dream come true because constantly getting rejected by big major retailers in the country is disheartening,” she said.
Thina said working in the city centre had been wonderful so far, however, a change in location wouldn’t hurt.
She moved to Cape Town as a child in 2000, and the journey has not been an easy one for her family.
During her primary school days, Thina and her family lived in a hostel where they shared a “shoebox-sized room with beds placed next to each other like in hospitals” with two more families.
She initially enjoyed staying with her instant family, but this became difficult when she went to high school.
Studying was challenging, especially at night when everybody had to go to sleep and the only light in the room had to be switched off.
Thina said the living arrangements became even more difficult when she became a young women as there was no privacy.
Eventually the conditions became unbearable for Thina and her family, and they relocated to a shack in Langa.
In 2016, things changed for the Ntshiqa family, when Thina’s single mother received an RDP house in Langa where they still live.