On some days, Nkuli Mlangeni’s mornings start aboard a flight on her way back to South Africa after an in-and-out trip to a European country. On others, she sits in a Siyaya taxi from the Noord rank to get to a meeting in Bryanston, balancing a suitcase full of fresh merchandise on her lap.
Today, she sits wrapped up in a fleece blanket to shield her from the harsh cold of the Karoo — making time for a telephonic interview before attending a skills exchange workshop — and nursing a slight cold.
To balance her double-double life — as an entrepreneur and a student of the arts, while helping to cultivate skills in others — the concept of a fixed daily routine has become fictitious for the 36-year-old creative.
Mlangeni is the founder of textile company The Ninevites, which specialises in making high-end, hand-woven rugs. The name may be familiar to many after one of its creations, the Sankara rug, won Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa award in 2017. But classifying her business only as an outlet for handmade textile designs fails to convey the aspirations Mlangeni is weaving into reality. Read more