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Meet Our Knitters

At the heart of Chommies...

lies a strong sense of community and a commitment to African craftsmanship.

Our exceptional team of 22 knitters, who span the ages of 24 to 84 years, are the artisans behind every Mo-hey piece. Their knitting skills have been passed down through generations within their own families. Every piece created is instilled with the wisdom of the elders and the determination of a younger generation who yearn to express themselves and transform their lives.

At Chommies we are passionate about supporting our local communities, offering a way to express their creativity whilst acquiring financial independence. Our flexible working opportunities allow our knitters to work from home at times that complement their lives and responsibilities.

Bahya was born in Cape Town and has been knitting for over forty years. Like so many of our knitters, she was taught to knit at school and knitting has remained an important part of her life – both as a hobby and now as a way to look after her family. Bahya is a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Since she started working for Chommies, Bahya has loved getting to know her fellow knitters and loves the special community they have created.

Married with two children, Jane learned to knit only three years ago as a way of supporting her family but has showed amazing talent in such a short time. Jane enjoys picking up her knitting needles after her children have gone to bed, when the house is calm and she can be alone with her thoughts.

Cynthia was taught to knit at primary school when she was seven years old. Having mastered the stitches, she taught her sister, Nyasha, who now also knits for Chommies. Cynthia loves to knit, sew and crochet in the evening, when the world outside has slowed and stilled. 

Debbie lives in Mitchells Plain with her husband, two children and granddaughter. She was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and it was there, aged seven, that her mom taught her to knit. She started with a scarf, which she admits was ‘mainly holes’, but soon became skilled enough to knit jerseys. Debbie taught her granddaughter, Keelin, to knit plus five of Keelin’s friends. When she’s not knitting, Debbie loves to cook, bake and socialise.

Florence can often be seen looking after the Chommies stand at the Oranjezicht Market resplendent in one of her very own colourful knitted creations. Florence has been knitting since she was fourteen years old. When she finds the time beyond being an important part of Chommies, she loves painting, macramé and crocheting.

Susan is our pattern maker and has been knitting for thirty-eight years. She was taught by her mother and has picked up tips with the help of You Tube. Now living in Rondebosch, Cape Town, Susan was born in Pietermaritzburg in Kwazulu Natal. She has lived on the remote island nation of Sao Tomé and Principé on the Equator and also in Angola. Both these experiences taught her that it’s crucial to be able to make a plan when life doesn’t go smoothly, and also to appreciate all that we have every day.

The first item that Leila knitted was in Primary School and it was a green snake doorstopper! Since then Leila has taught all her children to knit and still enjoys knitting, especially in the evening when her young twin daughters have fallen asleep. Born in Cape Town in 1979, Leila lives with her children in Mitchell’s Plain.

Nyasha and her younger sister, Cynthia, both knit for Chommies. Nyasha learnt to knit when she was twelve years old with the help of her sister and her grandmother. Her mother instilled in her from a young age that there is so much you can create with your own hands. With every stitch and with every jersey, Nyasha proves how true her mother’s words are.

Thoko is mother to Happiness and is married to Amon. She learnt to knit three years ago after seeing our head of knitting, Susan, creating beautiful knitwear at Chommies. Susan taught Thoko how to knit by starting her off with a beanie.
Thoko was very disappointed with her first attempt. However, not to be defeated, she immediately picked up her needles and tried again. The second time her beanie was perfect. And so began Thoko’s knitting journey. Thoko loves to sit down with her knitting needles during the day, and as soon as she begins and her needles start moving to their well-practised rhythm, she feels all the stresses of the day slip away and she feels happy.

Angella only learnt to knit fairly recently. She is left-handed but her friend Thoko, who also knits for Chommies, taught her and is right-handed.  It took many days of sharp concentration and perseverance for her to understand what Thoko was doing with her knitting needles! Angella started with a baby jersey and, delighted with the outcome, she continued to knit and produces exceptional work.

Vhunyiwe has been knitting for over 40 years, having been taught by her aunts and nieces when she was a teenager. It was a pastime they loved to do together as a family at home, and even now, many years later, it is a talent that intrigues many of her friends. She started with a beanie, which she claims was far from perfect. However, the years of dedication and practice have meant that Vhunyiwe now produces the most beautiful knitwear.

Growing up in Johannesburg, Olga and her nine siblings lived with her aunt and uncle following the death of her mother when she was very young. It was her aunt who taught her to knit when she was seven years old. Not  scared of a challenge, even at such a young age, Olga’s first item was a pair of socks, knitted on four needles. Olga’s life was difficult but her and her siblings worked hard and passed their final exams. Olga went on to teach her own daughters to knit and she also crochets. Aged 88yrs old and as bright as a button, Olga is a valuable and much-loved member of the Chommies knitting team.

Maggy loves to be adventurous, whether it is going for early morning walks or indulging in nature on beautiful hikes in the mountains. It was Maggy’s sister who taught her how to knit. Her first project was a hat and gloves which, to her surprise, turned out pretty good for a first endeavour. Maggy finds knitting to be a calming experience where she can clear her mind by listening to music while her hands are at work. Two years later, Maggy is now a committed knitter who has started sharing her passion with other relatives, teaching them the skills of the craft.