Daphne Strutt, fashion design winner: Zane Ngwenya.

THE DATE:       9 May 2017

VENUE:            KwaMuhle Museum, Bram Fischer Road [Ordnance Road] Durban.

TIME:               Meeting commences at 17:15; Refreshments will be served from 16:15.

PARKING:        Off Bram Fischer/Ordnance road [next to the Museum]; security person is present

FEATURE:        Denis Hurley – what lessons can we learn today from his life and mission?

The life of Archbishop Denis Hurley (1915-2004) not only spans the 20th century but also covers the arc of South Africa from the Treaty of Union, into petty and grand Apartheid, through the Liberation Struggle and ending in democracy and the current settlement. This was also a tumultuous period in the history of the Catholic Church with the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) acting as the hinge at the centre of Hurley’s life. Raymond Perrier, Director of the Denis Hurley Centre and regular ‘Faith in the City’ columnist in ‘The Mercury’ – will reflect on the lessons of Hurley for South Africa and the Church today.

A permanent exhibition on the life and mission of Denis Hurley ‘Guardian of the Light’ has been opened recently by Durban Local Museums at the Denis Hurley Centre. To visit, park behind Emmanuel Cathedral and walk across the courtyard to the Centre.

Accessible 7 days a week 0800 to 1700.

Report Back:   Daphne Strutt Prize Winner 2017 – Zane Ngwenya

We can do no better than to print what Zane Ngwenya, this year’s winner of the Daphne Strutt prize said to members; And to add that Zane appears to be continuing the tradition of outstanding students coming from the DUT.

Good evening, my name is Zanenhlahla Ngwenya but everyone has come to know me as Zane. I’m 21 years old and a third year fashion and textiles student at the Durban University of Technology.

I would like to start off by expressing my gratitude to the South African National Society for welcoming me this afternoon and presenting me with the Daphne Strutt prize which for me isn’t just an award but a symbol of how if you keep working hard for what you love there will be people who will recognize you.

I want to say a few words about my journey as a young creative. Words mean a lot to me because that’s how I start my creative process; in fact that’s how I start every decision I make by writing down words and saying them out into the universe. Any every time I start something by the word it comes to life.

When you look at the bible it says, “In the beginning there was the word and the word was with God and the word was good.” And God created the world by using the word. He said, “Let there be light and there was light.”

And for me that’s my ultimate metaphor using the power of words to create, to bring to life your visions. And when I was in matric at Westville Girls High, in 2014 I wrote down that I would get into fashion school and stay determined that would I would be the best that I could possibly be. And those words a have life as stand here today in the final year of fashion school receiving the award for being the best student in my second year.

I can’t say that I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer or a creative. I certainly gave no one any indication. I’ve always been a determined student, achieving academically and becoming a mentor for pupils in younger grades. I gave the impression of someone who wanted to live a life of ticking all the right boxes, like doing well in school, getting a respectable job like a lawyer, doctor or something in finance is always good, you know something my parents can be proud of and brag about at family gatherings; I mean no one wants to say their daughter makes clothes for a living. I never thought I would do something reckless like become a fashion designer.

When you’re young you sometimes feel like the choices you make are a projection of what the world wants you to be and you forget about what you want. So when I decided to study fashion it wasn’t easy for my parents to understand; but it’s their support and love that has guided me this far and I always work hard to honour that love and support

Myra Boyes presented Zane Ngwenya with a copy of Daphne Strutt’s now rare definitive work As well as her cash price for being the top 2nd year DUT Fashion Student in 2016

Fashion has not been easy, every time you create something you have to put yourself out there; produce something that is honest to your true self; you have to be brave and understand that your honesty won’t be appreciated sometimes. You have to accept the fact that some days you will have an anxiety attack over which shade of blue to use or which font goes with the background.

But for me it’s all worth it because that feeling of knowing that you have followed your heart and you don’t regret it is rare especially since there are so many young people who are unsure about their chosen careers.

I would also like to thank the DUT fashion department lead by, Mrs Moodley, because they don’t just teach us how to become designers but they make us see something within ourselves as students that pushes us forward to want to become better designers not only for ourselves but also for the local creative industry.

And finally where do I see myself in the future, well these are uneasy times and I would like think that as a young designer I would use my creativity to make clothes that can remind us all of our humanity, because that’s what all creativity is about reminding us of our humanity.

Hugh Glen – Zane & her mother Jabu Ngwenya – Hardy Wilson In the Museum Quadrangle before the evening’s events


There are many ways of enjoying history; one currently much in vogue is playing a re-enactor’s role. And so it was that Hugh introduced his subject and a series of silent movies produced by a clothing company Prior Attire, that specialised in making clothes from the Roman to Victorian eras. And so it was we were shown how today’s men and women could safely wear items from the Victorian era.

Hugh also pointed out that Zane might find the subject of much interest as this might prove an area worthy of development at some stage in her career.


Dressing up Victorians showed how with little practice one might don what at first appeared complicated outfits. There is definitely an art to dressing as a Victorian and process seemed all important; shoes on before corset was not expected; button-hooks really useful if not essential for doing up shoes let alone clothing. We all chuckled as layer after layer was donned, particularly as Myra pointed out this was how the ladies of Durban dressed 150 years ago.

Hygiene is all important to health yet most of us recognise that bathing was not always frequent in earlier times. Linen we learned provided the key for having a linen layer next to one’s skin helped absorb perspiration whilst preventing this reaching one’s clothing. And this linen layer was easily washed; a simple and effective solution.

Victorian realities – how did they use the toilet!

And so we moved onto comfort stops, remembering that stage coaches took 12 hours from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. A most tasteful but highly amusing video showed just how to cope for which we are certain all the ladies present will be eternally grateful to Dr Glen.

Moving in a Crinoline followed by Victorian Realities – How did they deal with the summer heat?

Keeping in the shade appeared to be the answer, whilst the tricks of graciously moving through garden gates were revealed in another short video.

Dressing up a Mediaeval Man

On a personal note this attire did not appeal to your chairman who is firmly of the opinion that modern clothing is both more comfortable and far more attuned to today, albeit that most of us have enjoyed mediaeval evenings at Greensleeves.

Hugh Glen stepped into the breech at the last moment and provided a highly entertaining evening which was far removed from the Society’s normal fare so his thank you was exceedingly sincere.

PS        One of the committee emailed the following day to confirm that dressing in 2017 still takes 11 minutes so we should accept that the Victorian’s were not far off the mark.


25 May 2017

Please keep the evening of Thursday 25 May free as final details for a book launch at Adams, Musgrave are being completed.

Another launch is planned for June; details to follow, but both titles should appeal to SA National Society members.

22-24 August 2017

Mid-week break at The Oaks at Byrne; Final details are being compiled but we propose spending two nights at the Oaks where visits to local museums and places of interest will be arranged. There will be a small charge for this event to cover entry fees and any incidentals.

12 September 2017

110th SA National Society celebratory evening. Details to follow nearer the day.

Click to download a PDF of this newsletter: SANS Newsletter & Program for May 2017

Newsletter & Program for May 2017