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UJ students ready to transform the fashion industry

Four University of Johannesburg (UJ) students, with no background in the fashion industry, are about to become fashion entrepreneurs.


On a mission to highlight the impact that urban fashion has on young people, Andy Dube, a second year B.Com Finance student, together with Melusi Nkonde and Sifiso Zikalala, both second year B.Com Accounting students and Kim Ndlovu, a third year Audio Visual student, created the fashion brand M’Africa. Short for Mother Africa, is a brand that mixed traditional clothing styles and designs with urban fashion.
Says Dude: “The urban tradition idea came about when I was in Grade11. I have noticed that the majority of traditional clothing styles have either disappeared or stopped to evolve, as young people are inclined to follow popular urban fashion trends. M’Africa combines both the urban and traditional.”
M’Africa launched in February 2014 with t-shirts and snap caps, and since then extended the product line with cardigans, sweaters and dresses.
“Initially, our market was university students in Gauteng, however, it has now broadened out to other varsities and provinces. We market our clothes on social media and through direct marketing. Our friends also act as our brand ambassadors,” says Dube, who aims to open a store in the near future.
Dube added that the advice on setting up one’s own company, improving career prospects, or developing one’s leadership skills is crucial. “Our endeavours would not have been possible if it was not for the exceptional lecturing staff at UJ, such as our business management lecturer, Mr Mohammed Kara, who have guided us to develop a new desire to pursue this venture.”
Dube concludes: “Launching one’s own label is not so different from the tribulations faced by entrepreneurs in other professions. Well-known fashion brands started somewhere, why can’t we? M’Africa can be my life, and our current studies can only contribute to a successful business. One other thing I can share with my peers is, they shouldn’t only look as far as the tip of their noses, the sky is not the limit.”


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