Everyone can do with a helping hand in life, right? Especially in our beloved South Africa. So be inspired by how two Cape Town employers who’ve been given a major helping hand for years by their domestic workers are now returning the favour by partnering with them in business!
Moniek, Nonzuzo, Lisa and Vuyelwa Faith: four South Africans daring to venture beyond a traditional employer/employee relationship | Photo: Leentjie du Preez


Moniek and Nonzuzo, equal partners in business. ‘All over South Africa, women like Nonzuzo know things about us that even our best friends don’t, yet they’re not always seen as individuals,’ says Moniek


Moniek de Rooy (45) is a beauty therapist/artist/property manager and mother of three teenage children. She’s married to entrepreneur John and they live in Cape Town’s Melkbosstrand

‘Nonzuzo has devoted herself to caring for our home and children for the past 12 years. She’s raised my children with me and become a friend. We’ve carried one another’s burdens and prayed for our families together. Her appearance is impeccable but her work wear didn’t reflect her dignity or her beauty. The uniforms I bought for her soon faded, tore under the arms, and the buttons popped off time and again.

But it wasn’t until I asked Nonzuzo how she felt about her uniform that I realised just how uncomfortable she felt in it. My eyes were opened to an aspect of her world that I’d never even considered before when she explained that the uniform makes her feel inferior because it reminds her of what her mother and grandmother wore during the apartheid era when they were called ‘servants’.

I asked her what she’d prefer to wear when working. She spoke about a simple slip-on dress that was comfortable, easy to work in, and felt more like her vibrant self. ‘Someone needs to do something about this,’ I thought. So we went into business together!

I’ve no experience in clothing production but, for several months, Nonzuzo gave me ideas and I worked with them to create more desirable work wear. For instance, an apron with a small pocket for a cell phone, a bigger pocket for an easy-access cloth, and 100% cotton fabric that allows the skin to breathe. To make the dresses we needed to outsource the manufacturing process, which raised a number of challenges, but we persevered because we believe in our mission.


The response has been phenomenal. Our first orders were from friends of mine who ordered them for their domestic workers, one of whom put on our dress and said, ‘I feel like a million dollars!’ The odd person will look at me as if to say, ‘Why would I want to do this?’ but the general response is that the uniforms are special.  We’re really inexperienced, so when we don’t know what step to take next we pray about things. I honestly believe that God guides us.

We called our business Nontle, which means ‘Mother of Beauty’, to honour the amazing women who inspire us, and let them know they’re seen and appreciated. We’re equal partners in it. Nonzuzo is really good at sales and follow-ups, and is learning more with every interaction. She can’t afford to invest in the business, so my husband is the investor. Once we pay off the investment and start making money, we’ll share the profits 50/50. Neither of us is getting a salary at the moment.

This business is about so much more than creating comfortable work wear. We want to change perceptions. All over the country, women like her perform such an important task, taking care of our homes and often looking after our most precious possession, our children! They’re intimately involved in our lives and know things about us that even our best friends don’t, yet they’re not always seen as individuals.

Nonzuzo and I want, in our own small way, to help domestic workers see themselves in a new light, and encourage people to value their role more highly. I believe every woman matters, every woman is God’s daughter, and who she is inside touches the lives of others.’


Nonzuzo with the vibrant uniform range she has launched in partnership with Moniek: ‘The way you see yourself is important,’ she says. ‘For my friends and me, the old apartheid-style uniform comes with shame’  | Photo: Leentjie du Preez

Moniek’s business partner, Nonzuzo Nkqayana (35), has been a domestic worker since leaving school. She’s married to Bongani, who works in plastic production, and they live with their three young children in Khayelitsha township

‘I’m happy to be a domestic worker because I’m a woman who is employed and putting food on the table for her kids. However, though my friends and I wear our uniforms out of respect, we don’t love to wear them in public. For us, the old apartheid-style uniform comes with shame, and we feel humiliated when we walk down the street in it. The way you see yourself is important, so it felt wonderful when Moniek asked me what I felt about my uniform and reacted positively to what I told her.

At this stage our business is still small, so I’m carrying on with my domestic work full-time, and do the marketing and sales work at the weekend and in my lunch hour. I get orders from social media and from chatting to people, who tell their employers about the dresses. Recently, we went to Kamers gift fair in Stellenbosch and got a number of orders, including some leads from small businesses and boutique hotels who’d like their names on the uniform.


Moniek and I hope to help domestic workers feel confident and empowered, and recognise that their work is important. We also hope that other people will see dignified women who are making ends meet for their families. We wrap every dress in tissue paper and include a personally addressed note that says, ‘You are loved and honoured and respected as a home executive. Always walk with confidence, woman of beauty’.

We’re not experienced, so we ask for God’s help at every stage. I feel He will open doors for us, that we’re supposed to be doing this. We both know we have a lot to learn, but we’re excited about the journey ahead and proud to celebrate the beauty and strength of women like me. Entering the business world is something I would never even have dreamt of! I feel grateful for this opportunity each and every day.’


Follow Nontle on Instagram and Facebook.  To order their dresses, visit or email  Both Moniek and Nonzuzo are delighted to talk at any small gathering or women’s event


Vuyelwa Faith and Lisa. The motto of their business, Made in Good Faith, is ‘Buy something beautiful and do something good’ | Photo: Ronelle de Villiers


Lisa Walters (59) has had a variety of jobs but currently works part-time as a financial administrator. She’s married to lawyer Gary, they have two adult children and live in Cape Town’s Kalk Bay

‘My mother-in-law died and we didn’t want her domestic worker to be without a job, so she came to work for us. Suddenly we had two domestic workers…with only my husband and I at home! Vuyelwa Faith had worked for me for a long time but I knew it wasn’t her passion to clean our house, and saw a possible opportunity to help her follow her passion for sewing by making commercial clothing.

Our first product was a towelling beach ‘onesie’, which I’d seen in America but not South Africa. I bought one as inspiration, and Vuyelwa Faith ran with making it. Initially, we used pattern makers to grade it into different sizes, then I sponsored her on a course to learn how to grade patterns herself. My daughter Caity and I put an Instagram page together, and we organised a beach photo shoot with friends in which Vuyelwa Faith was involved.

Our initiative is called Made in Good Faith. I get the orders and Vuyelwa Faith does the sewing in a room in our house, using her flair when it comes to things like to choosing the colour of the contrasting zips. Recently, she widened her repertoire to make pinafores and soft, crop hoodies. She’s also created her own pattern for traditional dresses that she’s started selling to her community.

a woman with potential

I’m currently paying Vuyelwa Faith a daily rate to sew as the business is still in the red due to the stock we bought. It would be impossible for her to find working capital herself. When we start to make a profit, the money will go to her. I’m not in this to make any money, I’m here to support Vuyelwa Faith with her passion, and help her make a living. Here was a woman with potential, who had no way to fulfil her own dream: how was she going to do it unless someone helped her?

It gives me such joy and satisfaction to see her doing what she wants to do. We aim for her to be running the whole show soon, with me just helping with marketing. If the business expands, we plan to team up with a South African sewing team to support women living in Cape Town’s townships: it’s an important part of our business model.

The whole enterprise has been done prayerfully. I sent up a prayer when I bought the onesie, and Vuyelwa Faith came to mind straightaway. Twice we’ve felt discouraged and have prayed and then got orders for a batch! I believe God cares for us both. He certainly gives me the hope, peace, comfort and joy that nothing else can bring me.’


Vuyelwa Faith with the beach ‘onesies’ she loves to create. ‘I dreamt of making clothes from the age of eight,’ she says | Photo: Leentjie du Preez

Vuyelwa Faith Mantla (46) is Lisa’s business partner and the seamstress at Made in Good Faith. She has three children ranging from 15 to 26 and lives in Fishhoek with her handyman husband Bongani

‘My biggest dream was always to start my own clothing business. My passion for sewing goes back to my early childhood. From the age of eight, I spent hours playing with my aunt’s sewing machine and dreaming of the clothes I could create with it. I remember making an outfit for myself that was all upside-down, but I was so happy to have completed it.

After school in the Eastern Cape, I worked as a machinist in various factories, and lastly at a leatherworks in Cape Town. But then I was retrenched and had to put my dreams aside and work as a domestic worker to put my two daughters through school. I feel so grateful to Lisa because she remembered that I used to be a machinist and suggested I start sewing again. Without her, Made in Good Faith wouldn’t exist.

every outfit is a challenge

I love sewing because every outfit is a challenge. I sing when I sew, I love it a lot. I wake up excited every morning, can’t wait to get to work, and often lose track of time behind my sewing machine. It makes me so happy to see people happy with what I’ve made for them, whether it’s a traditional African outfit with a modern twist, or a beach onesie.

I always prayed that one day I’d have a space to design clothes that people will wear, so I can say that God is truly with me in this business. I believe that if you pray, He cuts out things that are not right for you, and allows the things that are right for you to succeed. For the first time in my life, I have the opportunity to put my dreams first. Although my business is still in its baby shoes, I’m filled with pride and joy!’


Follow Made in Good Faith on Instagram. To ask a question or order items,  call or WhatsApp Faith on the phone number listed there  063 450 6305


LEARN TO EARN, a non-profit organisation dedicated to giving unskilled people a hand up in life, offers excellent skills and basic business training in Khayelitsha and Hermanus at a fraction of the real training cost

Made in Good Faith’s first creation: a towelling ‘onesie’. ‘Here was a woman with potential, who had no way to fulfil her own dream: how was she going to do it unless someone helped her?’ says Lisa of Vuyelwa Faith
Vuyelwa Faith with Lisa’s daughter Caity, who helped her put together her Instagram page
Other Made in Good Faith creations have followed the beach wear. Firstly, a soft crop hoodie, modelled here by Lisa | Photo: Leentjie du Preez
Secondly, a corduroy pinafore
Thirdly, traditional African outfits. ‘My biggest dream was always to start my own clothing business. I’m so grateful to Lisa because she remembered that I used to be a machinist and suggested I start sewing again,’ says Vuyelwa Faith, pictured here in one of her creations | Photo: Leentjie du Preez
‘The whole enterprise has been done prayerfully,’ says Lisa | Photo: Leentjie du Preez
Moniek and Nonzuzo showcase Nontle outfits at Kamers Makers market in Stellenbosch
‘We hope to help people see domestic workers as dignified women who are making ends meet for their families,’ says Nonzuzo  | Photo: Leentjie du Preez
Nonzuzo: ‘At Nontle, we wrap every dress in tissue paper and include a personally addressed note that says, ‘You are loved and honoured and respected as a home executive. Always walk with confidence, woman of beauty’ | Photo: Leentjie du Preez
Moniek: ‘We want to honour these amazing women who inspire us, and let them know they’re seen and appreciated’ |  Photo: Leentjie du Preez
Above and below: four South Africans breaking the mould, one item of clothing at a time | Photos: Leentjie du Preez
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