Laduma Ngxokolo

Textile designer

Not many men think knitting is cool, but Laduma Ngxokolo is one of them. Encouraged by his mother's skill, the 24-year-old Port Elizabeth designer created his first jersey when he was just 14. When his mother died his hobby generated income for the family. In 2010 Ngxokolo, a graduate of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, took the design world by storm with his MaXhosa knitwear collection, inspired by the dazzling motifs of 18th-century Xhosa beadwork. The London-based Society of Dyers and Colourists awarded him first prize in their Global Design competition. And the collection also won acclaim at the Milan Design Week in Italy for its cutting-edge blend of ancient and modern. But there's one market Ngxokolo still wants to crack � and it's much closer to home. He dreams of seeing amakrwuala (Xhosa initiates) wearing his jerseys instead of Western brands such as Pringle when they return from the bush to celebrate their journey into manhood.- Ayanda Sitole

Twitter: @Africanmun