Mar 2024 Special edition

Sarah Baartman seamstresses ready to run seamless businesses

Written by: Gabi Khumalo

A group of Sarah Baartman District seamstresses in Bathurst, Eastern Cape have received a much-needed boost to help expand their textile production businesses.

This was thanks to a donation by the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) where 16 businesses received an industrial-size sewing machine with an overlocker.

One of the recipients and founder of the Masincedane Project, Vuyiswa Nobebe, expressed her appreciation to the provincial department, noting that the new machine would boost her business and make more money, as she will be able to increase the number of clothing items she produces for her clients.

The project produces diverse church uniforms and women's traditional clothing popular for traditional ceremonies. 

Nobebe added that she was struggling to run her business because her old hand-operated sewing machine was giving her problems.

With the new machine, Nobebe said she would be able to produce more clothing of high quality for her clients within a short space of time.

“These new machines took my life out of the muddy waters that as my business with old machines. It is like I am being born again because I have been struggling for a long time. The new machine has changed my life,” said an elated Nobebe. 

She said her dream is to expand her business and create employment opportunities for local people.

Provincial Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC, Nonkqubela Pieters, challenged small enterprises to be stern in how they run their businesses to make money and keep the 
businesses afloat. “We want you to use these machines to make an income for yourselves so that you [can] eradicate poverty in your families. 

“Don’t be compassionate with your business [because] you don’t get your sewing material free of charge. Your clients must pay 50% before you stock material for their clothing,” Pieters said. 

She continued to say that the department has many development programmes, which are being rolled out throughout the province, and government hopes that the machines will change the lives of small business owners to become better.

For more information visit the DRDAR at

Share this page