West African tailoring academy opens at Grootfontein

30 May 2018 | Education

A West African material trader, Diana Gure, has opened Shalom Tailoring Academy at Grootfontein to teach Namibian tailors how to manufacture West African garments.

Gure, who has been living in Namibia for 27 years, says she has observed that there is a high demand for West African garments in Namibia, but there are no qualified tailors to produce them.

She has been trading in the traditional cloth imported from Nigeria since she came to this country.

She says although different tribes on the continent pride themselves on their national dress used for ceremonies and special occasions, many admire the West African attire.

“Many, including Namibians, like the West African outfits. I have been in that business since I came to Namibia in 1991. The demand has been increasing and I have decided to train Namibians how to manufacture these outfits,” Gure says.

“There are many varied styles of dress and the type of cloth plays an integral role in fashioning the garment. The fabric often reflects the society in general, as well as the status of individuals or groups within that community.

“In some instances traditional robes have been replaced or influenced by foreign cultures, like European outfits, but the West African outfit stands strong.”

She says her aim is to offer training to Namibians who are already in the garment industry, or people with grade 10 or 12 diplomas who are interested in tailoring. About 20 people have already registered for the first intake.

The academy opened its doors in April this year and has registered with the Namibian Training Authority (NTA), which is assessing her training methodology to determine the academy's accreditation level.

“Training will be conducted by quite experienced instructors, Aron Zulu from Zambia and Sharoma Zubairu from Nigeria, who both have over 20 years of experience in garment manufacturing.

“We cannot continue importing clothes from Nigeria while we have our own people with boutiques. All we need is to empower them through training then they will do everything on their own,” she says.

ILENI NANDJATO

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