Sewing Team

We dedicated the Sewing Project in memory of Beauty in December 2019.

Beauty Maziya
Beauty Maziya, Former Sewing Machinist

Beauty was born in Badplaas in 1960 and grew up in this community. Beauty was a mother to 10 children and a grandmother to 13. Beauty’s sister, Nelly, started working for Claire in 2017. Claire met Nelly at the weekly women’s group she leads at the eManzana garbage dump. The women at the dump gather together weekly for support. Out of this connection between Claire, Nelly and the garbage dump – Beauty was offered a job.

Beauty started work at Lydia’s Mission in December 2017. She was so excited about finding work so she could provide for her family. She wanted to use her sewing certificate.

Unexpectedly and quite suddenly, Beauty passed away in April 2019. She left behind her family, coworkers and many loved ones. Beauty’s sweet spirit and presence are deeply missed. Her sister, Nelly, still works here and mourns her sister’s absence. As we reflect upon the year, we remember the joy and smiles Beauty brought to the project.

Minah Shongwe
Minah Shongwe, Project and Sewing Supervisor

Minah is a local community member living in eManzana, South Africa for the past 10 years. She was the first employee of Lydia’s Mission, and shortly after she was promoted to the Operations and Employee Supervisor. To this day she still works as a machinist on the sewing project, along with her supervisory role. Her favorite animal to make is the lion. Her life has changed so much since starting work for Lydia’s Mission, one example is that she was able to build her family a house. She is highly respected by peers and community members and is vital to the success of Lydia’s Mission. In her free time, Minah is a committed member of the Evangelical Gospel Church. She has one daughter, Celiwe and is a proud grandmother of three. One fun fact you may not know is that Minah is a super-fan of wrestling!  Her current goal is to continue to work on her new house and to provide for her family.

Thabi Zulu
Thabi Zulu, Driver and Pattern Cutter

Thabi started working for Lydia’s Mission in October of 2017. So much has changed for Thabi since starting here. She was able to earn her driving license and built a house in eManzana. As she is one of the only drivers, Thabi has been given a promotion for all the help she provides. She loves to sew the lion and the elephant. She has 2 daughters, Londiwe 16, and Mangalisile 14. Thabi is a big soccer fan and cheers on her team, Kizer Chiefs. She also loves to sing! A dream of Thabi’s is to own her own car and she likes the Range Rover. Thabi is one of the strongest women we have on the project and she will always help no matter where we need her help. Although she is shy when having her picture taken, she is quick with a joke or smile and will light up the room when you are with her.

Khethiwe Nkosi
Khethiwe Nkosi, Sewing Machinist

Khethiwe started with Lydia’s Mission in October of 2017. Many things have changed since she started. When she started here she didn’t have many working skills and now she has learned how to sew and is proficient in her tasks. Other job skills she works on are her English when she is asked to translate and her business skills when she is asked to sell eggs. She even volunteers for overtime on the weekends to help provide chicken care! One goal that she is currently working on is helping her mother and sisters build a house where they can all stay together. Although now they are out in the country, they will work to build a house in the town of eManzana with enough rooms for everyone. Khethiwe has two sons Thando is 10 and Mpendulo is 7 years old. For fun, Khethiwe likes to swim, hang out with her friends and she LOVES music and dancing. She participates in the Worship Team at her church, Emanuel Prayer Mountain. Her dream is to finish school and training to become a pilot. She has taken the 1st round of courses and is saving up for the next steps! It’s easy to spot Khethiwe’s bright, fun-loving, silly energy and we hope she keeps her spunk as she works to achieve her goals!

Sbongile Nkosi
Sbongile Nkosi, Hand Sewer

Sbongile started work at Lydia’s November 1st of 2018. She met Claire at the women’s group at the eManzana garbage dump. She was making mats out of recycled plastic bags before coming to this project. She learned how to sew here at Lydia’s Mission. Her favorite animals to make are the giraffe and the lion. Sbongile’s life has changed a lot since starting work here as she is now able to buy food for her children. Sbongile’s children are son Harry, daughter Lindiwe, daughter Zinhle, daughter Nonhlanhla, and son, Thabo. When she is not working she can be found cleaning her house and taking care of her garden. She is also a faithful member of her church, Shilo. Her dream is to build a house for her family and to be able to provide food for them. Sbongile is a gentle, sweet and kind woman. She has a calming presence. Her faith and her sisterhood make this project a better place. We are so thankful to have someone as hardworking, humble and as faithful as Sbongile working with us.

Josephine Nonyane
Josephine Nonyane, Hand Sewer

Josephine started working with Lydia’s Mission in September of 2018. She met Claire at a women’s group in the farm village right outside of eManzana. She learned how to sew when she started work on this project. Her favorite animals to sew are the elephant, rhino and the giraffe. Her life changed so much since coming to work for Lydia’s Mission. Prior to working here, she had a bad situation at home. She was collecting tin recyclables to trade in for little money. Things have improved and she is happy and proud to have a job. Her joy comes out in daily smiles, laughter and dancing. It’s contagious. Josephine is a mother to 5 children, although 2 have passed away. Her surviving children are a daughter Deliwe, and twins a son Themba and a daughter Thembisile. She is a grandmother to seven beautiful grandchildren. When she is not working she tends to her home and yard as she values what she has and wants to take good care of it. Josephine has set a goal of building a new home and hopes that working hard at Lydia’s Mission can help her achieve that goal. Although Josephine is one of the oldest members of the staff team, she is full of life energy and smiles. I am constantly impressed when she lifts and carries more than the younger members of the team. We are so lucky to have an amazing woman like Josephine as a part of Lydia’s Mission.

Magdelene Nkosi
Magdelene Nkosi, Hand Sewer

Magdelene, nicknamed Magda, started working for Lydia’s Mission in August 2017. She met Claire through one of her sisters at church. She learned how to sew on project, and the lion is her favorite animal to make. Magda is able to support her family, as the only working member and she uses the money she makes here care for her uncle’s child Kwanele who is 5. She helps to raise him. Magda is a talented singer and enjoys singing worship songs. We are thankful that many mornings she is one of the song leaders here on the project. Magadaline has a big heart as her dream is that she wishes to make enough money to help others. Magda wished to be a social worker before coming to Lydia’s Mission. Although she is not in social work, she does a lot to take care of the women here. She is a wonderful cook and along with sewing, she helps to prepare lunch for the ladies almost every day. We are so thankful for her.

Fikile Lukhele
Fikile Lukhele, Sewing Machinist

Fikile started working for Lydia’s Mission in June of  2019. She learned about this job from her church friend, Magdeline, who works on the project. Since working at a Lydia’s Mission, her situation at home has gotten much better and improved her quality of life. Fikile has 2 children, daughter Sandisile 24, and a son Sakhile, 18. She is also a grandmother to 5-year-old Bayanda. She knew how to sew before coming to the project and her favorite animal to make is the rhino.  When she is not at work she is a skilled homemaker, cleaning, tending to her yard and taking care of her family. Fikile has a big heart and one of her dreams is to own her own project one day. She loves and respects the elderly and would love her project to be focused around that. We are so thankful for Fikile’s smile, positive attitude and her dedication to the Lord.

Patricia Mavuso
Patricia Mavuso, Sewing Machinist

Patriciah started on December 1st of 2017. She is part-time here at Lydia’s Mission as she also holds another job as a cook for eManzana Engabezweni School. She has two sons, Mcendisi 18, and a daughter Nkululeko 11. She works on the sewing project and her favorite animal to sew is the lion. Her life has changed by working here as she is able to earn more money to help her family. She is proud to be able to provide for them. When she is not working she likes to work in her garden, tending to both flowers and vegetables. Her dream and goal at the current moment are to build a big house with a beautiful bath. She wants to be able to relax in a bathtub like a queen! Patriciah is lively, sweet, reliable and blessed. We are grateful to have her working with us.

Mavis Nkosi
Mavis Nkosi, Sewing Machinist

Mavis started with Lydia’s Mission December 1st of 2017.  She met Claire through being friends with the project supervisor, Minah. Mavis’s favorite animal to sew is the giraffe and she learned to sew by coming to this project. There has been much change in her life since she started here as she is now able to support her family and take care of them. Mavis has more freedom to do what she wants, instead of always worrying about money. Mavis is the matriarch of her family and she has 4 daughters Gugu 32, Khethiwe 28, Lihle 22 and Nonhle 16. She has 6 grandchildren. Most of the family live together in a house on property adjacent to Lydia’s Mission. When she is not working she is a talented head of household, helping to keep her home clean and children fed. She also attends bible studies throughout the week and church on Sundays. Her dream right now is to build a house for her family – she is very happy to report that she has already started on this goal. She has even taken overtime and extra shifts to help her save for the home she is building. Her other dream is to send her children to university. Mavis is caring, hopeful and a bright light on this project. We love having her come to work with us and want to keep supporting her to reach her dreams. We are proud of you Mavis!

Nelly Mkhatshwa
Nelly Mkhatshwa, Sewing Machinist and Fabric Dyer

Nelly started to work for Lydia’s Mission in December of 2017. Nelly was one of the women in Claire’s weekly women’s group at the eManzana garbage dump. She knew how to sew clothing, but learned how to make animals when coming to this project. Her favorite animals to make are the lion and the elephant. Her life has changed so much since coming to work for Lydia’s Mission, she was able to send her son, Lucky 21, to University. She also has a first daughter, Thuli 31 and a son, Welcome who is 29 years old. She is blessed with six grandchildren. When she is not working she enjoys being a faithful evangelist at Shilo church. Her goal right now is to save up to buy a cow once her son is done with university. Nelly is an amazing piece of Lydia’s Mission and brought her sister Beauty to work for the mission as well. Although Beauty passed and Nelly has faced tough times, she continues to be faithful, come to work, and share with her sister on the project. We are so happy she is with us.

Celiwe Banda
Celiwe Banda, Personal Assistant and Hand Sewer

Celiwe came to the project on the 14th of December 2017. She is a skilled crafter in the sewing project. She is proficient in English and became extremely helpful to Claire as a translator. She also helps with administrative and personal assistant details for Claire and Lydia’s Mission. Celiwe has three children whom she loves dearly and her youngest, was welcomed recently in August of 2019.

Nontokozo Komane
Nontokozo Komane, Hand Sewer