Inspired by a band of 19th-century Joburg outlaws, Nonkululeko (Nkuli) Mlangeni’s multimedia, fashion-focused platform is called The Ninevites.

She is something of a fashion rebel, determined to subvert the prevailing trends of mass production and consumerism that influence the industry.

She sees clothing and textiles as modes for preserving and communicating important stories about culture. When Mlangeni noticed that her friends’ children idolised Superman and Barbie, she produced a Ninevites range of children’s T-shirts featuring two local heroes, artist Esther Mahlangu and musician Moses Molelekwa.

Mlangeni grew up in Kagiso, a township on Gauteng’s West Rand, and could not afford to study further after high school. But she blazed her own trail through the media, art and fashion worlds. While doing a short course at The Market Photo Workshop, her work with Lelo Veleko caught the attention of big media houses and opened doors for her to start fashion styling for publications such as True Love Babe and Move Magazine.

She was also one of Cape Africa Platform’s Young Curators in 2007. As part of the founding team of Livity Africa’s South African youth publication Live Mag, Mlangeni discovered her passion for mentoring young people and has since worked with Ikamva Youth and Young In Prison.

She is currently studying at Sweden’s KaosPilot, a school focused on creative leadership, process design and social innovation.

Find Nonkululeko on Twitter: @theninevites