Simphiwe Bendle’s Journey from Lalela to entrepreneurship
Above: Simphiwe Bendle attended Lalela’s after school educational arts programme from primary school into high school.
Simphiwe Bendle (25) serves as the creative director of KWANTU, a clothing company he founded. He joined Lalela during the period of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, discovering in Lalela the social and creative platform he longed for.
These days Simphiwe is making waves with his artistic creations and has several local outlets selling his work.
Above: Simphiwe’s prints on display and for sale at the Brundyn gallery in Cape Town.
Triumph Over Trials: Navigating Challenges with Determination and Education
Simphiwe grew up in Imizamo Yethu and his upbringing was both challenging and educational. The harsh realities of the environment, where peers fell victim to the influence of gangs and violence, fuelled Simphiwe’s determination to rise above the hardships.
Joining the Lalela Project in 2010 marked a turning point for Simphiwe. The art programme at Iziko Lobomi (Centre of Life) in Imizamo Yethu provided a sanctuary, keeping him and others away from the dangers of the streets. It was during this period that Simphiwe’s artistic journey took flight, and his talent began to shine.
Simphiwe’s entrepreneurial vision
Today, Simphiwe’s creative talents is gaining attention. His creations are being sold at local outlets, finding new homes with those captivated by his unique vision.
Reflecting on his Lalela experience, Simphiwe acknowledges the profound impact it has had on his life, stating that beyond learning the technical aspects of art, Lalela provided a safe space for self-expression and allowed for his imagination to take flight.
Simphiwe attended Lalela’s after school art programme all the way from primary school to high school and credits the experience as an important stepping stone for him in life.
“For me, Lalela means a lot of things. It’s a safe space where one can be free to express yourself through art, drama, or music. It’s an escape from reality, where one can create your own reality, your own world. I hope in the future the organisation can transform more lives through art. I see Lalela in many under-resourced communities, making an impact. The only words of encouragement I’d like to share with the youth of South Africa is that nothing is impossible – just do it,” he explained.
Simphiwe’s journey from Imizamo Yethu to establishing KWANTU is a testament to the power of artistic expression and Lalela’s impact in fostering creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit in young people.
Visit the Kwantu website to view Simphiwe’s creations.