One’s dreams are always valid, no matter where they come from, their background and even limitations.
Ntombizodwa Mbhele’s story of entrepreneurship attests to this. The 23-year-old young woman was raised in the village of KwaNokweja, outside the small town of Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal.
As a child, she dreamed of becoming a singer, but life eventually led her down an unexpected and glamorous path.
“I moved to Durban when I was 13. As I child I wanted to be a singer but that changed when I began high school. I started drawing a lot. I even had a drawing book,” she said.
Mbhele then went on to study Fashion Designer at Phumula’s Creation and School Of Fashion.
The creator faced growing pains as she had never sown anything before and found some courses challenging. However, through determination, she learned and perfected the craft.
This bolstered her confidence and made her believe that a mere pipe dream could turn onto a reality.
“My designs are a form of self-expression. I love the freedom I have when creating a piece. It is fulfilling to see the creations come alive from a page,” said Mbhele.
Mbhele is the founder of Lil’Bear, her own fashion brand. “At home I am the last born so that is where ‘Lil’ comes from. AmaBhele when translated to English are bears.
“I wanted to honour my family, heritage and background while putting my own twist to it.”
A true member of Gen Z, she said she finds her inspiration from various social media platforms such as TikTok or Instagram. She also uses them to keep track of the latest trends.
“Mbhele wants to gain more knowledge and understanding when it comes to new designs. I want people who wear my clothing items feel confident and beautiful,” said Mbhele.