The dressmaker from Elim

Date:15 May 2022 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela

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Ethel Ramalira, a resident at Mpheni Block B1 in Elim, has never been formally employed, but she has managed to raise her children and feed her family on the income she generates from making traditional outfits.

As a dressmaker Ethel creates, customises and personalises both men’s and women’s clothing. While customers stand in line for her traditional Venda (Minwenda), Tsonga and Pedi attire, she also makes the most beautiful wedding dresses and outfits for parties and other social events. Her reputation has grown to such an extent that her customers include high-profile members of the local community.

She was taught to make traditional attire by her late mother, Elinah Mulaudzi, but never thought it would be enough to put food on her table. Now it provides more than just that, because she truly enjoys doing this. “I decided to come to Elim because there is more exposure here than in my rural village. I meet different customers on a daily basis, and this encourages me to work hard to satisfy their needs.”

Her prices range between R250 and R1 500, depending on the size desired by the customer.

Ethel is a happy woman, since her dreams had turned into reality. “I would like to teach the youth and other unemployed people in the village this skill to help them earn a living too. To those who still say there are no jobs, they have to think twice because they have the ability to become their own bosses. Success is based on a positive attitude and hard work,” she said.

She urges community members to preserve their cultural attire for future generations. “Minwenda is part of the Venda traditional attire, and I encourage people to wear them and show off their true identity. We must not be ashamed; no other nation will promote our culture for us.”

Those who want to place orders can call her at 076 807 9946.



Ethel Ramalira makes traditional attire. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.


By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.






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