Meet The Knitters!

Nomvula Knitters!Nomvula Knitters

Life Retreat is proud to be selling the beautiful clothing of Nomvula Knitwear.See our range of tops, shawls and scarves!

Read the stories behind the clothing here.

Life Retreat is so delighted to be working with this wonderful project.  Just reading all these Dreams and Visions, motivates us to contribute towards all these peope reaching their Dreams and Visions.

To view and purchase their beautiful knitwear, click on

 KnittersFrances Nomvula

Frances “Nomvula” Becker is a dancer, choreographer, designer, teacher, filmmaker and mom. She has also battled through Hodgkin’s disease and surviced breast cancer. “Knitting was very healing for me when I was ill. With that in mind I decided to teach knitting skills to those women (and men!) who desperately needed work. The idea was that a steady income would ultimately help their children as well as the whole community.”

Her dream and vision

“My dream and vision for Nomvula’s is to create jobs. I want to create a company that is socially progressive and economically transparent. A company that supports creativity and ingenuity and where concern for the well-being of the workers and the environment is uppermost.”

 Meet Clifford

Our first maKnittersle knitter and factory manager! Clifford is responsible for designing the Nomvula’s collections with Frances. He also works with her on new client designs. Clifford is a talented teacher and helps all the knitters when they get stuck and is always on hand to answer any knitting questions from customers. He is able to take an image and create a garment, a true talent! He also has an amazing memory. Clifford is part of the local Street Committee of Sea Vista, with the task of helping people improve living conditions and fight alcohol abuse. At the church he is a Bursor and Society Steward. A very busy man, and Nomvula’s right hand man!

His dream and vision

“I want Nomvula’s to grow and in 5 years, I’d like to be managing a larger group of knitters and learning about the back office and the business side of things. I want to grow Nomvula’s to create more jobs for the community. I would love to have a real home for my family-no more living in a shack!The boys need a good education, not limited like mine”


Meet ThobekaKnitters

Thobeka is our shop manager. She is a talented crocheter and helps our Knitting Group. She adds those special finishing touches to items with crochet edging. As a pillar of the local community, Thobeka is Vice Chairman of the Community Policing Forum for St Francis and Sea Vista. She is part of a volunteer support programme that helps victims of rape. Thotho is also an active member of the “Say No to Nuclear” movement.

Her dream and vision

“I hope to learn more about the back office and business end of the Nomvula’s. I am keen to update my PC skills and to improve stock management for the shop.”



Meet Nomalizo

Nomalizo is another of our most talented and fastest knitters. She is able to take a rainbow of coloured yKnittersarn and create beautiful striped garments. She is good with new patterns, changing hand knits to machine knits as well as crochet patterns. She is also a mom of 2!

Her dream and vision

“I’d like to learn PC skills and gain a better understanding of business. I also want to learn to drive. I hope Nomvula’s grows so much that in 5 years I can be a manager of a group of knitters–assisting them with new patterns and teaching people how to knit. My daughter is 4 years old and I want her to get a good education and to have choices in her career.”



Meet Zanele

Zanele, which means Last Born in her native language, Xhosa is the latest member of Nomvula’s Knitters! She is a fast learner who is already excelling with knitting. She makes the most amazing mohair poncho’s!

Her dream and vision

“I would like to learn to design and to have my own knitting label one day. I’d  love to move from my shack into a real home because that means comfort and safety for me and my family.”


Meet Noneka


She is a very fast knitter and likes the challenge of creating and making new patterns. A lot of our orders are from hand knits and she turns these into machine patterns. Noneka wants to find a group that helps people with funeral costs and comforts those who have lost loved ones. She wants to make sure that families can bury their loved ones with pride and respect. Noneka is expecting her first baby in September.

Her dream and vision

“I hope to become more involved in the design process and pattern making. I’d like to learn more about sewing and how to use the machines. I love to create an idea, knit an idea and sew an idea!”


Meet Pinkie


Pinkie has been with Nomvula for 4 years. Shortly after joining the team she showed a keen interest and aptitude for office work and management. Now 4 years later, Pinkie is well aversed in computer literacy, is currently attending part time adult studies in basic business skills, management and computer work. She is an asset to Nomvulas and shows great promise in handling much of Nomvulas office work, from managing and executing orders, packing, shipping and customer liaison. Pinkie is also hands on in the knitting arena, always smiling and very enthusiastic !

Her dream and vision

“To handle the running of Nomvulas ! To educate herself and grow in all areas of her life and wellbeing !”



Meet Khanyisa Nqanolabantu

Khanyisa has been with Nomvulas for one year. She loves machine knitting and wants to develop her skills to work on more complicated machines. Her daughter Mbali is two years old and lives with her parents.

Lindiwe wants her daughter to go to creche next year and to finish school



KnittersMeet Jess–our factory dog

When she is not running around at the river, Jess likes to hang out at the factory with the knitters, lazing happily on the big comfy sofa in our shop.

Her dream and vision

“I like everything just the way it is. I love everyone and everyone loves me!  My big joy is chasing hassies by the river, but I adore my family and the good food I always get. I also like falling asleep on the sofa to the chatter of the knitters (they talk a LOT!), the click-clack of the needles, and the whirrr of the knitting machines. I’m a lucky dog, no doubt about it!”





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