Therollong Dress Making
by Cyril Skosana
(3861 Block B, Mabopane, Pretoria, South Africa)
Therollong Dress Making
The Therollong Dress Making NGO is located at 3861 Block B, Mabopane, Pretoria
Although South Africa is known to be the most developed state in an African continent; it is also true that unemployment remains one of the main economic disasters in the country. About 25 percent of the people actively seeking employment are unemployed. This excludes those that have given up on getting jobs. The unemployment rate above 20 percent is bad in anyone’s standards.
Apart from the lack of job opportunities, unemployment also stems from the lack of skills within the unemployed community of this country. The youth is the hardest hit by unemployment. On one hand, there are hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people with non-marketable qualifications; on the other hand, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs that require scarce skills. The unemployed do not match the available jobs. South African government has called for the private sector to chip in by skilling and redirecting the young unemployed people towards the needed skills. The most efficient form of rectifying this problem is having the unemployed start their own businesses so as to help tone down the high unemployment rate which is eating from the country’s economic development.
Therollong (place of freedom) is a non-governmental organisation based in Mabopane, Pretoria. This Dress-making organisation helps community members with skills-development. It was started in 1989 by Josephine Maboa (68). Therollong Dress Making is a small organisation that gives the unemployed youth and adults sewing and dress-making skills, in and around Mabopane.
The organisation holds annual courses for its students, and then a graduating ceremony at the end of each year. In her own words, Josephine says, “Students graduate every year, but then the phases of sewing or dress –making are not the same.” She says the stages of learning differ from year to year. A student starts with a first phase, which offers the basics of sewing. A student then graduates from the basics. Should they see a need to learn more skills in sewing, like being a professional tailor, they have to come back and embark on a new stage.
“It has been a successful venture so far, we have a lot of our graduates who have started their own businesses, which is our drive. To empower more people and help with job creation”, said Josephine. Therollong Dress Making has embarked on a lot of projects for various clients, especially for hospitals around Pretoria. Some of their projects include nurses’ uniforms for Legae Hospital, Ga-Rankuwa Hospital and they are currently working on a new project for Audi Hospital.
Josephine and her assistant, Lindiwe Bomvana further said that their goal is to grow bigger than they currently are and to have their own working place. “Our working place is cramped, as you can see. A better, opened space would do much good for everyone here.” Tshepiso Mametsa, who sketches and draft designs, is the only male working with the women at Therollong. He says he has a deep passion for fashion design and he wants to see himself running his own clothing brand in the near future.
The organisation makes traditional clothing, tailored suits, house-hold curtains and any ordered form of clothing. With the support they receive from the community, the Therollong members say the community could do better than it is presently doing to create more jobs, especially for the youth of Gauteng.