IN THE BEGINNING…………. Nomvula (nom Voo la) is a Xhosa word. It means “she who brings the rain.” It is considered a lucky name because any sign of rain in Southern Africa is gratefully received.
When Frances Becker, the founder of Nomvula’s was christened, the heavens opened and drenched the family and friends who were gathered at the church. Dinah, a young Xhosa woman who worked for the Becker family named Frances, ”Nomvula” ; in honour of the rain that came that day in May.
In 2008, Frances invited local women to attend a free knitting class in St Francis Bay. On the appointed day Priscilla and Letitia arrived. They were the very first knitters! Clifford, a local security guard came forward too. He was the lone man, eager to try his hand at knitting! The news spread, so nine months later 14 regulars were meeting regularly twice a week to hone their knitting skills and share their progress.
The unemployment rate is high in this little town as work is dependent on seasonal holiday makers. Our knitters live in an area called Sea Vista. Their homes are made from packing crates and corrugated iron. Rain is kept out with plastic, and floors are often sand. There is rudimentary electricity for some and no indoor running water or bathrooms for most. This semi-urban squatter community is typical of other areas in Southern Africa. Many of the community have travelled from even more depressed rural areas where unemployement is at an all time high.
By the beginning of 2012, Nomvulas had twelve knitters working full time and currently we have eight permanent staff who are share holding partners at Nomvula’s. We also employ several knitters who work from home.
Although Nomvulas is still a small business it has developed a strong client base which keeps the pace of work consistent and provides a sustainable income for the staff.
The concept for our company is to train our knitters in the art of manufacturing, marketing, and running a business with the goal to eventually own the business. Nomvula’s is not a charity and its goal is profit driven. What makes our company extra special is that the knitters who work here, run it as their own business with the guidance and direction of Frances. They understand that what they put in, they get out both financially and emotionally. We are totally transparent about all finances.
Life Retreat is proud to sell a range of Nomvula Knitwear that includes:
See Life Retreat’s clothing range on www.lifestyleshoponline.co.za
Please email us to enquire about Nomvula Knitwear: firstname.lastname@example.org