On Thursday 16 October, we invited 7 Christel House learners to embark on an immersive Learning Journey through Cape Town’s design district. Entrepreneurship was the order of the day.

Our journey began at Ciovita (translation: life in motion), a leading manufacturer of performance cycling apparel. While browsing through the company’s range of slick sportswear, our learners met admin superstar, Roxy, who extended a warm welcome before introducing the various parts of the business.

After dishing out some seriously stylish headgear, Ms Roxy escorted us to Ciovita’s head office and design house. There, learners enjoyed quizzing the company’s talented team of graphic designers and patternmakers. They were surprised to learn that Maths figures heavily in the fashion industry!

Next we met Walter, the man in charge of Ciovita’s state-of-the-art sublimation printer. Even Ms Louise blinked as we watched plain strips of material turn into art in a matter of seconds! Mr Walter shared a touching career story and stressed the importance of hard work before helping our learners print yet another round of seriously stylish headgear!

Dressed to the nines in Ciovita gear, it was time for learners to meet CEO, Andrew Gold, who whisked us off to his cut-make-trim facility in Salt River. As Mr Andrew guided the students around row upon row of expert tailors, they were amazed that he could greet each one of them by name. He explained that businesses succeed because of people. Besides people, we learned that the only thing an entrepreneur needs is her brain!

“Ciovita taught me that some things don’t come from studies, but from doing something with passion and love. I enjoyed being at Ciovita because it was interesting and I loved Ms Roxy and Mr Andrew.” – Ziyonda, Grade 11

There’s nothing trendier than a good cup of coffee, so our fledgeling entrepreneurs were delighted to learn that the second stop of their learning journey would land them in Cape Town’s coolest café, Flat Mountain.

Gean’s infectious passion for the art of coffee roasting captivated our learners quicker than you can say cappuccino. They were fascinated to learn that coffee is derived from a cherrylike fruit that was first consumed by goats in Ethiopia! Gean began by inviting our learners into the engine room of his business, where he not only guided them through a coffee bean tasting but also imparted elementary economic principles.

Armed with insight into the incredible journey that separates coffee beans from coffee cups, our students were just about frothing for a sip. Simultaneously flipping switches, turning dials, and spraying steam, Gean and his team somehow managed to fit in a lesson on marketing as they delivered cup after cup of the best coffee in town.

“What I learnt was to respect people you work with. I felt inspired by everything because everyone was just so happy to explain everything, which means that they actually loved their job.” – Patti, Grade 11

After their first-ever ‘coffee date’, our entrepreneurs had time for one last stop on their Learning Journey. Their faces lit up as soon as they walked into Ashanti Design, in part thanks to some giant beanbags on which to rest weary feet.

Initially, students were shocked to learn that their heavenly pillows were made of rubbish. But by the time Ms Monique had finished teaching them about the company’s sustainable design philosophy, they grew more comfortable than ever. Ashanti’s signature fabric is handwoven from T-shirt offcuts that would otherwise end up in landfill. By utilising waste materials, Monique explained that the business not only minimises its environmental footprint but also supports an entire community of weavers in Madagascar.

To round off, Ms Monique invited the learners upstairs and introduced the rest of the Ashanti team. Amid spellbinding colours, they encouraged us all to reflect on the true meaning of a fulfilling career.

“They taught me a lot today. They have made a difference. They taught me how to choose careers wisely. Now that I know what I want to be, I will stick to design.” – Sibulele, Grade 11