Sandile “Jeff” Khumalo: The Creative and Philanthropic Genius Behind Sah’s Fashion House!
Written by Luc Lang – Photography by Nkosi Miles
Born in the year 1992 in Empangeni of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, Sandile “Jeff” Khumalo also known as “Sah” is poised to be South Africa’s next highly recognized fashion designer in due time! The director of “Sah’s fashion house” which is a Johannesburg based production company producing the celebrated, “DigniDad” clothing label; he is making major waves in the fashion world with a philanthropic approach to business. According to an article published in the Independent a local newspaper in Hillbrow: Khumalo currently teaches design courses to 16-20 students and will even help some disadvantaged students with fee waivers if they are unable to pay. This benevolent spirit is the result of all the challenges he’s faced while growing up with humble beginnings and pursuing his dreams despite the setbacks.
After his father passed in 1996, Sah’s mother was left with the decision to leave him with his grandmother. He started hustling with granny at a young age doing odd jobs such as herding cattle and helping sew garments for various customers she had. In fact, under his grandmother’s supervision, he made his very first shirt while only in the 5th grade. Thus marked the starting point of a bright career in fashion design.
As his love for fashion design grew, Khumalo took a course at Umfolozi College in Esikhawini. According to Khumalo when asking for tuition costs: his uncle teased him asking him, “Why would a man would want to do women’s work?”. In response, he showed his uncle a designer dress in a magazine costing upwards of 7000 ZAR and pointed out that the dress was designed by a man. Consequently, his uncle paid the tuition for the course with the last of his money!
During his 2nd year at the college however, a lack of finances forced Khumalo to drop classes which resulted in him relocating to the city of Johannesburg and finding work as waiter for a catering company called Event Classic. Through this job he was able to purchase his first domestic sewing machine and began crafting shirts for fellow employees. Word spread quickly at work and soon, Khumalo won the attention of business owner Njabulo Harold. Njabulo recognized Khumalo’s potential as a fashion designer and volunteered his former brick and mortar as a working space to get him started. If this wasn’t enough, Njabulo also sponsored Khumalo with additional sewing machines and even gave him his first contract producing employee uniforms for Event Classic.
Today, Sah’s fashion house buzzes with the kind of high energy felt on the dance floor at an exclusive night club. His designs have been seen on one of SABC’s hit shows titled, “Muvango” and can be spotted on an assortment of Jo’burgs A-Listers during private events. With plans to develop a measurement app which will enable Khumalo to take measurements remotely from clients all over the map, the future seems more than promising for the young fashion icon, “DigniDad” is more along the lines of delivering global swagger to the worlds elite!