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