Bonolo Mataboge loves fashion. She’s been designing clothes since she was 12, and went to the London International School of Fashion when she left school. However, she had to leave due to illness and her big plans were put on hold – but not for long. Her mother, Siphiwe Sithole, who she now calls her ‘Momager’, inspired her to start her own company in 2014, when she was just 19. Today, AfriBlossom is a booming body-positive womenswear brand for the curvaceous, cosmopolitan, African woman.
‘When I was 16 I went to the US on exchange and found clothing shopping as a big girl easier there. That’s when I decided to become a plus-size fashion designer,’ says Bonolo. ‘I didn’t want to wait for an international brand to “save us” from the bad fashion that plus-size women are subjected to in South Africa.’
Growing up in a home where her mother was the very definition of an entrepreneur, it was a no-brainer for Bonolo to start a company, with her mom’s guidance and an injection of capital – Siphiwe invested R50 000 to help get AfriBlossom off the ground.
Born and raised in a town outside of Malelane in Mpumalanga, Siphiwe has been ‘hustling’ (as she puts it) from the beginning to raise her two daughters, who often helped out in their mother’s various businesses.
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