Bongi Nkosi Mthimunye received Best Entrepreneur B.S.I. Award by local Business Chamber
He also received a donation of R12 000 towards his project by Carl and Annalize Lowis of AC Electrical.
Is 17 years old and a grade 11 pupil at Hoërskool Lydenburg. He takes Design as a major subject and performs very well.
During 2017 he participated in numerous Visual art and Design competitions. He walked away with an overall 2ND Place in Mpumalanga.
He lives in Coromandel which is 22km outside of Lydenburg. Bongi sustains himself financially, as his mother being a single parent with his siblings takes a lot of financial strain.
Bongi does his sewing at his uncle’s place, next to his house, where he is in charge.
Bongi is a very good teacher in his trade and also teaches children in his community to do sewing and alterations. One of his friends helping him from the community is an orphan.
The money that Bongi makes from selling his products is used to help support his living expenses and he also gives some money to his mother for petrol as she brings him to school. Bongi tries to save some to contribute to his University fees in 2019.
Bongi would like to graduate in fashion design from Lisof in Johannesburg and then would like to open a mass production company bearing his brand name.
Heavy Swag was started in late 2014 but only really became operational in 2015 as he was still learning how to use a sewing machine.
Heavy Swag was started in order to shift the discrimination off obese people, as Bongi was an obese person himself. His peers mocked him when he was obese at the age of 14. A fellow obese girl introduced him to street wear as she always looked good in what she wore. This made him chose fashion design as he believe that if you look good in the clothes you wear, people will look at you from a different perspective as they will be more interested in the style of your clothes and the way you dress.
Mass production plays an important role in South Africa with regards to employment. The Jockey company in Durban is a good example of this as it employs 500 general workers.
He firmly believes that his brand, Heavy Swag will also make an impact on the economy of South Africa. He prefers leather and denim, printed polycotton, unique camouflage like the one that he is currently using for his detailing, recyclable material, and soft material suitable for t-shirts and many more.
During 2017 Bongi’s Design teacher asked for a 2nd hand over locker for sale on Facebook. The result of people wanted to help was overwhelming. We received an over locker but unfortunately after taking it for a service it was irreparable.
So the hunt began for another one.
We are hoping to receive another sponsorship so that this young man can continue building his dream.
But in the meantime he uses his one sewing machine to still teach and inspire the youth of the community.