Poorer pupils can dance night away

Everybody deserves a ball like Cinderella, said two East London friends who have been pampering matric students from impoverished schools.

HELPING HANDS: Vuyelwa Longa of Lovey Dovey Hair Salon, above, and Sibongile Xolo, below, of Next Level clothing are inviting matric pupils from rural and township schools to come and pick an outfit, get their hair and make-up done for their matric dance up at their studio in Vincent Park Pictures: STEPHANIE LLOYD
HELPING HANDS: Vuyelwa Longa of Lovey Dovey Hair Salon, above, and Sibongile Xolo, below, of Next Level clothing are inviting matric pupils from rural and township schools to come and pick an outfit, get their hair and make-up done for their matric dance up at their studio in Vincent Park Pictures: STEPHANIE LLOYD

Sbonile Xolo, a Walter Sisulu University fashion design graduate who owns his own label, is the brains behind the Donate-a-matric-dance-dress project together with beautician and hairstylist Vuyelwa Langa.

The pair, who share a studio in Vincent Park, started the project in 2014 and have supported pupils from more than 10 schools from Mthatha to King William’s Town.

“We are willing to dress matriculants who are needy and come from township and rural schools as long as they can come to us with a teacher who has a letter verifying the child is enrolled at the school and is needy,” said Xolo.

“As a dressmaker I sometimes try out new designs and I would find that these dresses are just collecting dust in the store.

“So I thought what if I donate these dresses to people who need them, because I know that not every pupil in Grade 12 can afford the expense of a matric dance.”

He said the project had started with giving a dress and over time expanded to doing hair, nails and even buying shoes when the need arose. They have also transported matric couples using their own vehicles.

“We cannot just give a child a dress or a suit when they do not have shoes and the means to get to the venue of the dance. We are trying to make someone’s dream day come true,” he said.

Langa said they were offering a variety of hair styles at no cost.

“Teachers need to make contact with us at least two weeks prior because we work on appointments, and also to ensure no disappointments, and so that we can prepare for them in advance,” she said.

Langa said although they were helping disadvantaged pupils, they were also looking at how well they had done in school.

“It is not fair for a child to work hard academically throughout the year and then miss out on the best part because of their home situation,” she said.

Xolo said although he was designing dresses, they also used dresses and weaves donated by clients. He urged members of the public to assist with donations.

Xolo said they were were not looking for money but donations in the form of dresses, suits, accessories or shoes – “anything that one might need for a matric dance”.

For further enquiries or donations Xolo can be contacted via Facebook at C’Bo Next Level Clothing or phoning 078-263-2904. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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