Businesswomen, Khanyisa Maphanga (47) knows the importance of celebrating our beautiful African identity. She says that celebrating Heritage Day shows how we will forever be proud of where we come from.
Speaking to the Ngcobo Empire crew, Maphanga let us in on her booming business of traditional clothing and accessories, as well as her passion for culture.
Based in Boksburg, Gauteng, the single mother of two and grandmother of one is the sole owner and founder of Nowami African Creations; a traditional clothing and accessories store. From handmade leather and beaded sandals to colourful beaded bangles and neck pieces, the store takes pride in providing its clients with everything they need to look their best in their traditional outfits.
Maphanga started her business in 2016 by selling sandals imported from Kenya. She then added beaded accessories and more items that were demanded by her clients.
Before owning a business, she worked in the corporate industry for more than 20 years as a claims negotiator for companies like, Hollard, Regent, Mutual and Federal. Her passion for accessories started when she was selling Honey Costume Jewellery which she did for eight years before eventually deciding to start her own business. She hasn’t regretted that decision ever since it all began.
“I felt that I was not challenged anymore [in the insurance industry]. I got bored of the same routine every day. I was not growing, which is why I decided to start my business,” she proudly says – adding that she enjoys what she is doing and is very passionate about it.
Maphanga does not run the business alone as she has a team of hard working women helping to create her gorgeous designs. She says that all the items are unique and they also make custom-made designs as per clients’ requests.
This heritage month, Maphanga is planning to take her business to even greater heights by launching a pop up store in her neighbourhood. Besides preparing for the launch, she is also busy with handling the overwhelming demand of orders this heritage month. One of the popular items in high demand is the traditional body vest.
“There is a lot of demand for them. I handle the hectic orders very well because I have an amazing team of women who get the job done,” she says.
Speaking about the shapes, colours and designs on the beadworks, Maphanga told us that her designs don’t really have specific meanings. She explained that although black, white and blue colours are regarded as Xhosa colours, there is also a mixture of Zulu and Ndebele colours in her collection which can be purchased by anyone.
As far as the preservation of our African heritage goes, she encourages the older generation to teach the youth about the importance of tradition and culture so that they may contribute well towards the African civilisation.
For orders and other business related stuff, you can call Maphanga on +27 76 979 5776 or visit her IG & Facebook page: Nowami African Creations.
~ Thabile Shange