Meet 18-Year-Old Creative Designer Kundai Caryn Mangena.
In recent times social media has been awash with memes ridiculing anyone born on or after the year 2000. The ‘2000s’ as they are sarcastically known, are stereotyped as a bunch of ignoramus, lazy, internet surfing, selfie taking, social media abusing and pleasure prioritizing kids not in touch with reality, the notion is that the 2000s know nothing about having a work ethic and following a passion, and this is attributed to what older generations call a decline in society due to the negatives brought about by technological advancements and social media.
To a degree, these sentiments echo a tinge of truth, however in any anticipated norm, there are always the anti-theses; the ones that stand out and prove to be the exact opposite of the stereotype. This is perhaps what Kundai Caryn Mangena spot on personifies.
What started off for Kundai as a love for sketching when she was just 10 years old has blossomed to noteworthy artistry. Even so, in her words, there is still room for improvement. Born 29 April, 2000 Kundai is a fashion designer perhaps the youngest known in Bulawayo and the founder of KC Designs. Kundai fondly recalls how what she calls ‘a gift from God’ started off.
“I was always the little girl taking my mom’s beautiful fabrics to my friend’s house and design dresses for my Barbie dolls.”
From there Kundai says she fell in love with designing and would tell any older person that quizzed her about her future aspirations of being a fashion designer. She says it’s a talent that God has blessed her with.“For me it’s about God revealing these designs to me, so many times I get dreams and visions of designs that I’m going to make, I believe it’s something that God has given to me.”
Kundai’s designs include an array of products from bags, sandals, hats & caps, earrings and bracelets. Her aesthetic is mainly characterized by colourfully patterned, African inspired fabrics and materials that she says are user friendly and not harsh on the environment. It is some of these designs that have won her a Summer Fashion and Style 2018 overall best designer and best bag designer awards.
“To me it comes naturally but that does not mean that I don’t work hard, I put effort, I sharpen my skills, I sketch out my designs and I’m at a point where I’m making it an everyday thing that I advance my craft.”
Kundai’s articulation of issues and ideas is a reflection of her astuteness; a complete divergence and a refreshing one from that of the stereotypical ‘2000s.’
“I’m there to prove that you can be young and have focus and push your passion and find your purpose that you have been called for and excel at it.”
Writer Chris Guillebeau wrote that if “you can do one thing you can do another” and these sentiments are a reality for Kundai Caryn Mangena.
Currently in her first year at NUST studying for a degree in Journalism, she says that Journalism is amongst the many endeavors that she is embarking on;
“I’m not just limited to fashion, ‘I’m not defined by fashion or being a designer, I’m also about motivating young people into achieving their goals and dreams”
To fulfill her goals to motivate young people she has founded the Heart of Hadassah Foundation and is also looking forward to collaborating with others to write motivational books.