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Meet South African sustainable design guru Reabetswe Ngwane

Written by Staff Writer

December 14, 2020

By Charndré Emma Kippie                                             

Reabetswe Ngwane, an innovative young female designer, and the co-founder of KreamFields (Pty) and Atyre, is a locally celebrated premium producer and retailer of eco-friendly handbags. She was born and raised in Mogwase, a town in Bojanala District Municipality near Rustenburg, where she initially realised the potential of recycling tyres to make locally-produced, exquisite, sustainable fashion accessories – which would potentially counteract the negative environmental and economic effects of what is categorised as ‘Fast Fashion’.

Ngwane was selected as one of News24’s 100 Young Mandela’s of the Future Honouree for 2018, and has also already been listed on Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30. In a formal letter written for Atyre, she recently expressed her passion for redressing the intersection between sustainability and inclusion: “We [Atyre] are committed to continually innovating the craft of bag making, to not only be ecologically friendly and sustainable, but also socially inclusive by working with local communities to eradicate poverty”.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK ETHIC?

Having grown up in a household of women who were passionate and driven entrepreneurs, with the most impeccable work ethic, I was constantly inspired by my grandmother and my mother to always put my best foot forward. My work ethic is equally inspired by my team, the responsibility to sustain and grow the company to greater heights. Ensuring that we all have a job that feeds us, and our loved ones, is more than enough motivation as well.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST LESSON(S) YOU’VE LEARNT THUS FAR?

That it’s never quite the end, just the beginning of something greater.

DO YOU HAVE ANY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS?

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Power by Naomi Alderman, and The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?

A good run, hiking and travelling to new places

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD PASS ON?

Just start! Never wait for validation from anyone to start your business. In this day and age anyone can turn just about anything into a profitable business, so don’t doubt your ideas and compare them to someone else’s. That inspired idea was placed in your head for a reason!

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