“Culture is a way of life. It is a mirror in which the peoples' being is reflected: Who they are, What they are, and What they are to be. A people without knowledge of their own history, culture and identity are a lost people. They are like lifeless leaves that are drifting aimlessly with neither origin, sense of existence, direction nor destiny over the ocean of time.”

Dr. Kgalushi Koka, significance of culture in self-identity


SAFDA is comprised of expertise in Fashion Design, Fashion Awards, Fashion Promotion and Marketing, Clothing Manufacturing and development of the industry. All this expertise are specialised in specific areas of the business.

The agency began its activities in 1987 (trading as South African Fashion Designers Association), and today, with the direct professional involvement of Designer Sonwabile Ndamase, it is a source of our experience, and pride on a strength for pursuing expansions and investments into new, evolving and rewarding initiatives with future emerging designers. SAFDA's strive for success is our association with aspirant and young designers.


SAFDA intends to:

•  Create partnerships with all stakeholders in the design industry, locally and internationally.

•  Encourage the establishment of a distinctive South African design industry influenced by the cultures and lifestyles of South Africa .

•  Maintain standards comparable to any internationally, through an environment of education, training and competitiveness.

•  Influence international fashion trends by exhibiting internationally and incorporating the best of South African design in international markets.

•  Act as an agent for South African fashion designers in the local and international design community

SAFDA's Associates is made up of:

•  student designers

•  professional designers -

• I. Accessories

• II. Clothing

• III. Interior

• IV. Textile

•  SMMEs

• I. Distributers

• II. Merchandisers

• III. Suppliers

•  Corporations

• I. Equipment Manufacturers

• II. Retailers

• III. Textile

Professional Body

SAFDA (South African Fashion Designers Association) is the official body supporting and developing the emerging designers. The mission of SAFDA is to create partnerships that support the establishment of a distinctive South African Design Industry, with recognizable design standards and capable of influencing international fashion trends.

•  SAFDA is an AGENCY aimed at developing young designers and exposing them to business and markets.

•  SAFDA is a national AGENCY representing the interests of South African fashion designers in all sectors of the design industry.

The SAFDA Vision : “Your African inspired fashion house of choice”


Mission : “To produce and market world class fashion garments”




SAFDA Development Projects:



Provision of theme to Designers to develop their sketches and concepts around the SAFDA's market trends guideline, i.e. sophisticated – multi use – competitive;



Review concepts with established designers cum manufacturers and jewellers;



Link Designers with credible emerging clothing manufacturers;



Assist Designers with pricing, manufacturing techniques and contract negotiations with suppliers – i.e. manufacturers and fabric suppliers;

Expose the Designers to clothing production management techniques;



Strategic alliance with Clothing Design schools, suppliers and clothing development agencies; and



Assist Designers source markets, promote and sell their creations.

Community Participation:-


Approach (how are projects implemented)




1 s t Vukani Sources contract opportunities

2 nd Vukani out sources the production only to emerging cut make & trim (CMT). For example contracts for the manufacturing of Pick ‘n Pay shopping bags/Post Office bags acquired and the manufacturing outsourced to Tembisa Development Centre (TDC). TDC is a sewing project made up unemployed 70 women.

3 rd Vukani provides on the job-training on the manufacturing of the appropriate goods as per contract and project management support.

4 th Vukani manages the finances of the project and administer payments for project staff.


Other community related projects:

•  Thusanang Dress Making:

•  CMR Sewing Project:

•  Itereleng Sewing Project:

•  Eyethu Golang Bomme:

•  SFISA Sewing Project:


•  Community Crisis Centre

•  Living In Hope

•  Thembisa Intergraded

•  Khanya Family Centre

•  Khatha Family Centre


•  Organisational governance structure:-

SAFDA is enacted as a Trust entity. The business model of SAFDA has got 2 (two) streams, i.e. firstly – Clothing Marketing & Promotion Agency support and secondly – Developmental projects.

Governance of Developmental Projects

Governance of Clothing Marketing & Promotion Agency support

•  SAFDA implements development projects in partnership with receipts stakeholders and sponsors.

•  Funding/Sponsorship is normally managed by a project committee set-up for delivery and monitoring of projects. This committee normally is made-up of SAFDA's executive president, sponsors and beneficiary representative.

•  For accountability and reporting purposes the developmental project funds are managed separately from the agency side of business. In some cases, depending on viability separate banking accounts are opened for project purposes. The signatories to the funds are made up of committee members for the duration of the project.

•  SAFDA enters into a memorandum of understanding with sponsors for project implementation and reporting purposes, this MOU governance the implementation and use of projects funds.

•  SAFDA Agencies utilizes VUKANI! Brand name for activities related to marketing and promotion, such as VUKANI! Fashion Awards. The name VUKANI has been developed, carried through and used as a means of communication.

•  VUKANI is a brand operating under SAFDA.

•  The governance of SAFDA is regulated by the South African Trust Act.



0ur key business focus areas

•  Mutually beneficial business transactions

•  Value add partnerships with strategic stakeholders

•  New frontiers for investment – manufacturing

•  Enhance overall brand positioning strategy

•  African market penetration

•  Custodian for future generation of Designers

•  Full utilisation and optimisation of current marketing plan

•  Competitively different …and proudly African



A new project that SAFDA has implemented over these years is the Vukani! Fashion Week. This is an African fashion showcase that is held over a week that not only an exhibition, but also an information-sharing forum for designers, manufacturers and weavers, etc.




The Vukani! Fashion Forums feature a combination of speakers and panels that will discuss issues pertinent to stakeholders in the design industry, with the overall goal of encouraging the preservation and acceptance of African cultural designs.


Topics reflecting a chosen theme shall be discussed:

•  Market Access

•  Finance

•  Careers

•  Reaching the Market

•  Linkages


The aim of the Vukani! Fashion Forums is to:

•  Create partnerships with all stakeholders in the design industry, locally and internationally.

•  Discuss and debate policies and accepted practices affecting the design industry.

•  Inform designers of career and marketing opportunities in South Africa and internationally.

•  Participate in the formulation of legislation governing the design industry.


Industry specialists will be invited to speak on various issues:



•  Patenting ethnic art: protecting it from mass marketing and providing some rewards to those who have designed them

•  Do corporations support the local design industry or how to use design to grow stagnating industries – a case study of Anglogold and its award winning approach to jewellery design

•  Public Private Partnerships – Are they working in the design industry?

•  Design and tourism – How can designers gain benefits from growing tourism in South Africa ?

•  How the designers can benefit from their participation in Government trade missions?

•  Participation at international fashion exhibitions and shows: successes experienced by African designers

•  Influencing the textile designs produced by African textile houses: creating unique African textiles to support the local industry

•  Ensuring internationally competitive design standards: the role of SABS and other agencies



•  Financial support for exporting designers?

•  Are financial institutions granting financial assistance to designers?

•  Developing a bankable business plan?

•  Pricing – how to get paid the correct price for your products?

•  Cashflow management

•  Business legal structures and their impact on your fund raising abilities, financial liabilities, etc.

•  Accessing government grants

•  Securing bridging finance for consignment projects?



•  Jobs and career opportunities for African designers in Africa and internationally

•  Bringing community project skills and designs into the mainstream economy: a case study

•  Creating partnerships between designers and the textile industry

•  Boutique designers: Creating and protecting your signature designs?

•  Training youths in fashion accessory design: a key complement in the collection of African design

•  Selecting the area of speciality based on your skills

•  Do institutions offer the relevant, marketable skills?


•  The impact of international designers on the African design industry.

•  How to build a successful brand.

•  Creating an African space - trends in African interior design.

•  Keeping African designs fashionable and timely: ensuring the growing interest in African design is not a passing fad.


Each panel shall be composed of four stakeholders in the fashion industry with specific interest in the topic under discussion. Panelists shall be chosen from industry, government and designers, predominantly.



•  Exploitation or Globalisation: Are AGOA and other trade agreements good for the African design industry?

•  The role of the media in influencing fashion and design trends and creating markets for African fashion: Does the local media do enough to promote local / African designers?



•  Are financial institutions geared up to support a growing design industry?

•  Should designers price for a local or international design industry: ensuring greater value of crafters



•  Are our institutions developing the kind of designers with skill, innovation and business savvy to compete internationally?

•  Reviving the African textile industry: a cornerstone of a thriving design industry



•  Are large retailers carrying and promoting the work of African designers?

•  Are African designs able to compete equally and influence the trends of an international, consumeristic fashion market?



•  Building a strong, competitive, cohesive African design industry: how can we create partnerships that work for our industry?


Sonwabile Ndamase

Executive President


Telephone: (011) 333-2636

Fascimille: (011) 337-8914