Sonette de Beer’s story began with retrenchment in lockdown… and a big dream. Upon her retrenchment at the end of May 2020, her husband, Hugo, said, “Now, you will do you!” And she decided to do just that.
The first thing she did was to phone up Sakhile Madonsela. “Sakhile and I worked on a project together more than three years ago,” she says. “It was creative, satisfying and a huge success, and back then we both knew this could become something. So, the two of us decided to join forces, and that was the start of a new dream.”
During this time, Sonette joined a paint group on Facebook, TjhokoPaint #tjhokocrations, where she shared her decor projects. “The community was unbelievably supportive and boosted our ideas, and we reckoned, why not? Let’s go for it! I became a Tjhokopaint ambassador, and being part of such an incredibly supportive community is a blessing in itself,” Sonette enthuses. “From there, I immediately sent the message to all my friends, telling them that for any project they had in mind, to buy the material – we would do the work. At no charge!” She laughs, saying that she and Sakhile made the decision to hang in there, stick together, and to push through no matter the outcome – good or bad. “It was for our families, mainly, but also to do what we loved, what we wanted to do. We soon realised that our getting together was a blessing from day one. And so Nitali Re-Invented Decor began!”
They started their first project on June 15, 2020, woodworking with Tjhokopaint. “We loved it! Now, all we needed to do was to take photographs of our first official makeover and get ourselves on the map.” The duo completed three fairly large projects in June and August, bringing in more opportunities. By then they realised they needed a bit of help, and Sakhile brought in his nephew, Given. “He decided there were other things I could be doing, instead of assisting him while he was busy building,” she smiles. “The three of us completed a few more projects, and by the end of October/November, we needed another pair of hands to help us out, especially with painting, as we had now added painting walls and ceilings to our repertoire. That’s when Dumisani joined the team.”
During November, Sonette had the opportunity to meet the people from Paintmaster/Tjhokopaint in person, inspiring even more new ideas and plans. “Our projects grew,” she muses, “and we eventually just ran out of space as time passed. Also, rainy weather kept us from being 100% productive. We had to make a decision – go big or go home. At the end of January, we made the decision to find premises to work from; quite a leap of faith, because we went from no rent to rent, and of course everything that that entails. But we took the leap and were rewarded with more blessings – the team has grown to 11 people in 2021! The new premises in Mbombela will house a woodworking and upholstery factory, workshop space for classes, a paint shop (Paintmaster and Tjhokopaint), and a decor shop. None of these people had employment due to Covid, but they all had plenty of hope and big dreams. And now, every one of them is happy to help with all your reinvented decor ideas.”
Trading hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm. Sat: 9am-1pm.
Details: Sonette on 082-569-6588
Photography: Lume Reiter