David Ninepence used to work for the well loved Zimbabwean company Kudhinda Fabrics. David carved some of the original designs for the block prints and continues to handprint cloths with his own designs. He asked me recently to showcase some of his beautiful cloths…come and see these textile jewels in our gallery in Bathurst, also a jewel of a village in the Eastern Cape.
This is David’s story…
“My name is David Ninepence I was born in 1988, 23 May, in the Capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare. It was only me and my Mom in my family because I never set eyes on my Dad’s face. My Mom used to tell me, ‘I last seen your Dad when I was pregnant’. My mother used to cook that traditional beer (7 days) and sell it to make me study and go to school. On the 27th of September, 1996 my mother passed away because she was suffering from a heart problem, and at that time I was only 8 years of age, Grade 3. From that time I started to see how hard life is, but I thank God my Uncle took me to his place in Domboshava, Zimbabwe. I managed to stay with my Uncle and his wife for 3 years but it was difficult because his wife didn’t like me at all…so I decided to be a street kid and ran away from their house… guess what, I walked for almost 40km from Domboshava to Harare CBD. After some time in the CBD I met another lady who gave me money, then I went back to Mabvuku Tafara, the city where I was born. I went to my Aunt and explained everything to her and she accepted me. I wanted to go back to school again until I finished my Form 4.
At school I used to like Art and I was a cricket player so after school I continued playing cricket in several different teams, but as you know our economy was very poor and our government didn’t support the upcoming youth, so I just hung up my boots and looked for something which could give me money, because at that time my girlfriend was pregnant and I was supposed to be a father in a few months time. After that I met another lady named Sindy Kanyemba, she was a designer at Kudhinda Fabrics, and she already knew that I was good at Art. She took some of my drawings to Kudhinda just to showcase my pieces. After 3 months she phoned me and asked me to go with her to her work place because her boss wanted to see me, then I said ‘It’s fine my sister’. I worked for 2 years at Kudhinda, firstly I was a colour mixer but within a year I was an all rounder…I was doing everything in Art because Art was my life.
After that I started doing my own things and supplied many galleries in Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls, Kariba, and Great Zimbabwe. But one day I woke up and I noticed that I was going down, I was sinking because of our economy and it was too late for me, but now I’m working hard to try and get back in the game.”