These are a selection of Imbali graduates who are doing exciting things in the fields of craft, art, design and creative education. Please feel free to contact these individuals directly should you want to find out more about what they do or place orders for any of their products.
Jan Moloi
Graduating from Imbali’s 3 year crafts training programme in 2018, Jan has since been creating beautiful embroidery pieces, bags and jewellery. Originally from the Free State, Jan enrolled at Imbali to learn about crafts and business skills to pursue a career as a craft-artist. Before joining Imbali Jan made cardboard models of rural, urban and township scenes, but these were hard to sell. He enrolled at Imbali to increase his repertoire of crafts skills and techniques, and learn about product design and development and business skills. While at Imbali Jan participated in a programme with the House of Embroidery which saw him produce 3 embroidery panels which were exhibited at the Houston Quilt Fair. There pieces were all brought on the first day of the Fair!  While studying at Imbali Jan also started a community outreach programme teaching youth in the inner city of Johannesburg to screen print.
Jan can be contacted on: 0630891173
Fundi Sithole
Fundi graduated from Imbali in 2019. Born and raised in the small town of Ladysmith in KZN Fundi has always been creative and knew she wanted to pursue a career in this sector. During her three years at Imbali Fundi fell in love with ceramics. She was fortunate during her third year to be offered an internship with master ceramicist Kim Sacks. For most of the year Fundi worked two days a week in Kim’s studio, learning a range of different techniques. Fundi is now doing ceramics full time, her work is mostly abstract, reminiscent of sea shells and underwater life. She creates texture and detail on her pieces by using the sgraffito technique.
Fundi can be contacted on: 0840989396
Lwandile Nantisi
Lwandile, known as Ndalo, is an artist, actor, musician and composer from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. He enrolled at Imbali in 2016 to sharpen his visual art and craft skills. At Imbali, he excelled at textile design, printing, ceramics and business skills and he also completed a facilitator training course. His outreach project took him back to the Eastern Cape to teach printmaking to children at Enyanisweni Primary School.  In 2017 he was one of the winning artists in The City of Johannesburg Totem Design competition. He graduated from Imbali in 2018, the same year as his music album ‘Kufayayo’ was released. In 2019, Ndalo obtained funding from the Department of Social Development to run embroidery workshops at a centre for abused children. In early 2020 he ran workshops funded by the Eastern Cape Arts and Culture Counsel in which he taught drawing, printmaking, pattern-making and sewing. His workshops were an enormous success and he is planning to get funding for more fabric and a domestic machine so that he can conduct more workshops soon. Ndalo is currently also printing t-shirts and designing and manufacturing leisurewear.
Lwandile can be contacted on: 0786809890 lwandilenantisi@gmail.com

Andries Sefuno

Andries Sefuno grew up in Zeerust in the Northwest Province of South Africa. He enrolled at Imbali in 2014 and graduated in 2016. At Imbali he loved both printing and sewing and after graduating he set up his business in Randfontein making potato-printed cloth and sewing the fabric into shopping bags. He soon branched out into the creation of backpacks and hats. He also makes beautiful jewellery from found materials such as tin pulls and bottle caps.
Andries can be contacted on: 0787555161 or 0813042293
Sello Christopher Mdlane
Sello Mdlane is a craft artist and entrepreneur from Mogale City in Gauteng. He graduated from Imbali in 2010 with a passion for textile design. He exhibited his first range of hand screen printed fabrics in 2012. In 2017 he registered his ‘Christopher Textile’ business. The business specializes in 100%percent cotton, hand-printed fabrics using stencil and photographic screenprinting. All his original designs are inspired by African traditional culture and heritage. Sello also creates bags, aprons and other products with his colourful and unique fabrics.
Sello can be contacted on: 078 643 1193 SELLOMDLANE@gmail.com  Sello Christopher on facebook.
Sifundo Mbatha
Sifundo lives and works in Orlando West in Soweto. He started studying at Imbali in 2016 and learnt many skills such as sewing, ceramic-making, printing and weaving. He graduated in 2018 and began doing what he loved most which was sewing. He began designing and making clothes as well as developing his skills as a make-up artist. These two businesses now flourish side by side. Sifundo also has a large following on Social Media which helps him to market his skills and products.
You can follow Sifundo on Instagram: @Sfundo_Mbatha and on Facebook: Sifundo Siya Mbatha and you can email him: Sfundos86@gmail.com
Mxolisi Mkhonto
Mxolisi graduated from Imbali in 2016. In 2017, he partnered with another Imbali graduate, Bethwell Mapheto and worked as a co-ordinator and facilitator for crafts training workshops. He also travelled to Northwest and the Free State provinces as a mentee facilitator for Imbali and the Africa Craft Trust. In 2017 he participated in the pilot facilitator’s course run by Imbali and at the end of the year he registered his own craft-creating business. In 2018, he continued facilitating and travelled to Qwaqwa in the Free State to assist with craft training there. Along with a number of fellow crafters, Mxolisi worked with The Trinity Sessions to build a sculpture in a 5-star hotel in Sandton. Later in 2018, he worked as a facilitator, teaching basic embroidery in Mpumalanga with the Simangele Project. In 2019 he collaborated with designer Nina Sedumedi to make costumes for a carnival at the Union Buildings. In 2020, Mxolisi ran a leather jewellery-making project in Mpumalanga funded by The National Arts Council.

As well as his facilitation work, Mxolisi continues producing his own craftworks and he also receives commissions to create portrait drawings.

You can contact MXO on: 071 618 8658 mxolisimkhonto9@gmail.com

Twitter: @Mxolisi48878572

Yoliswa Mbobisa
Yoliswa grew up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in a rural village. When she was young, she saw a cow eating a plastic bag and was seized by the desire to do something about the rubbish that covers South Africa’s villages, towns and cities. When she came to Johannesburg, she found out about Imbali and enrolled to study in 2014. Yoliswa was already skilled at crocheting and knitting but at Imbali she learnt a lot about colour, pattern and design. After graduating, she focused on creating her own business; using discarded materials, and plastic in particular, to make upcycled clothes, jewellery, hats and more. Yoliswa is an excellent entrepreneur and has become an iconic figure in Johannesburg. She dresses up in her own creations and in this way becomes a beautiful representation of her brand of creativity. She is interested in sharing her skills and worked as a trainee facilitator for Imbali in 2018 assisting on the creativity workshops with crafters in Limpopo. In 2019 and 2020 she has been conducting workshops for children funded by the National Arts Council.
Yoliswa can be contacted on: 079 706 4122

email: yoliswa01mbobisa@gmail.com

Mondli Khobeni
Mondli was born and raised in Emdeni township in Soweto in the South of Johannesburg. He lived with his parents and five siblings. When he was a child, Mondli’s mother had accounts at stores like Markhams and Edgars. Even though the clothes she bought there were expensive, of good quality and even trendy – Mondli just didn’t like these clothes. He had a strong sense of his own style and he thought he could do with some clothes from another less-expensive store called Mr Price. He asked his mom if she could buy him clothes from Mr Price instead of the other stores, thinking that she’d be happy to save money, but to his great surprise she told him that no, she didn’t have an account at Mr Price and she could only afford to buy clothes on credit. Mondli began saving his lunch money. Soon he had enough to go shopping at Mr Price, but just before he could go he was introduced to a friend of a friend called Bento. Bento was a fashion designer! Mondli didn’t know there was such a thing as fashion design. It was a life-changing experience. Imagine meeting someone who could make clothes from scratch! So instead of using his saved money to go to Mr Price, Mondli payed Bento to make clothes for him.

Mondli had another friend called Veli whose grandmother owned a sewing machine and Mondli became fascinated with the sewing process. He started fantasizing about creating his own clothes and began looking around for a place to study fashion design. He met someone who had studied at Imbali and in 2015 he decided to enrol. At first, he was disappointed because he only wanted to learn how to make clothes, but at Imbali he was expected to learn many skills including appliqué, ceramics and printing. After a while though, Mondli began having fun and having an open mind about the projects he was exposed to at Imbali. Now he says, ‘I can proudly say that Imbali made me the artist I am today because I was exposed to everything I know at Imbali….Things like patchwork! Damn that was magical! And potato printing! I never thought that it could be possible to get such results. Fabric dyeing- changing white fabric to any colour I wanted! Mmmmm, that was mind-blowing. And T-shirt printing too! I will forever be grateful to Imbali for teaching me these techniques.

His hopes for the future were revived. ‘They had been in ICU,’ he says. When he graduated in 2017, his parents, his girlfriend and daughter were so proud of him and Mondli was on cloud nine.

Mondli went on to study fashion design for two years and graduated in 2019. ‘That makes me a professional fashion designer, textile designer and jewellery designer,’ he says.

Mondli is very active- creating original, complete outfits including accessories. He says that Imbali has given him a third eye to see things that would usually be discarded which he can turn into something wonderful. For example, he finds torn shopping bags (known as khonza ekhaya) which he mends and beautifies to create quality bags. Mondli uses take-away containers from Chicken Licken and KFC, matchboxes and Mageu boxes to make earrings. At present, he is trying to raise capital to start his own company. He plans to supply stores with his designs and he hopes he will be able to create jobs for others in the future.

You can contact Mondli on: 0677428526
Sizwe Hendrick Eksteen
Sizwe grew up in the dusty township of Protea Glen, surrounded by mines. He was raised by his supportive and loving grandparents who he describes as ‘wonderful’. He enrolled at Imbali in 2016 and graduated in 2018. He has a wide range of craft interests including textile design, embroidery, sewing, painting, soft-toy making and appliqué. Since graduating he has been specialising in pattern-construction and the manufacturing of bags. He has also been honing his tailoring skills. He has partnered with local brands and companies to manufacture innovative products and he constantly concentrates on acquiring more skills so as to better his craft. He would like to see his business growing to a point where he can employ many people and contribute to the reduction of crime and other social ills in his community.
You can contact Sizwe on: 074 7461128. His email is S.H.Eksteen@gmail.com and Sizwe Eksteen on Facebook
Thuli Maseko
Thuli Maseko graduated from Imbali in December 2018. She returned as a fourth year student in 2019 to hone her skills whilst starting her own business. She set up a studio with friends and began sewing clothes, cushions, make-up bags, pencil cases, laundry baskets, picnic blankets and even gorgeous doggy beds. Thuli also had a chance during the year to develop her skills as a theatre make-up artist. In 2020 she began specialising in designing and sewing plus-size clothes. In April 2020 she was nominated for the SAFA Best Female Designer award. Her amazing work demonstrates how well-deserved her nomination is!
You can contact Thuli on: 064 409 8908
Sifiso Suntsha
Sifiso Suntsha realised he was destined for the creative arts while still in preschool when his artworks were appreciated and displayed in the headmaster’s office. In primary school, he drew animated figures and sold them to his friends. After school he studied marketing and graphic design before enrolling at Imbali in 2016. When he enrolled, he knew tie-dyeing and stenciling but by the time he graduated he had learnt screenprinting, block printing, embroidery, applique, starch batik, general sewing and more. In 2019, he was offered a year-long internship at Imbali during which he facilitated and helped in the studio. He also travelled to the Western and Northern Cape and Limpopo to conduct workshops for teachers. Currently, Sifiso is contracted by an organization in Soweto to teach a group of young students the skills he learnt at Imbali. He also has a business selling his amazing original garments at markets and craft shops.
You can contact Sifiso on: 073 944 1721 His email is sifisosuntsha@gmail.com
Mduduzi Mayekana
Mduduzi Mayekana has always been creative. He loved sewing when he enrolled at Imbali in 2015 and by the time he graduated in 2017 he also had a passion for screen printing. He has been employed as a printer by designer Yda Walt since 2018. He also creates his own colourful, branded products.
You can contact Mdu on: 064 649 4555
Isaac Mathontsi

 

Following in the footsteps of his stepfather who was a shoemaker, Imbali graduate Isaac Mathontsi has his own company called Phanda Creations making his own original designer shoes and clothing.
You can contact Isaac on: 062 770 7633
Sbongile Ngobeni
Sbongile Ngobeni learnt many skills during her time at Imbali, but she loved designing and sewing the most. After graduating in 2016 she worked for two small design businesses: Papadi and Mix Masala. She was employed as a part time facilitator at Imbali and in 2018 she was appointed as an Imbali intern. She continued developing her own business and today she has a workspace in town where she designs and sews her fabulous creations. She specialises in outfits for weddings and other special occasions but she also makes beautiful original casual wear and accessories.
You can contact Sbo on: 082 745 0078