July 15, 2024

Tiisteso Moagi inspires to be a world class designer


By Simon Manda

Reach for a Dream Foundation, Bernina SA, renowned fashion designer Machere Pokane, and restaurant chain Wimpy collaborated in an inspiring demonstration of unity and compassion to realise the aspirations of Tiisetso, a talented 16-year-old aspiring fashion designer.

Tiisetso, a resident of the tight-knit community of Sebokeng Township, is one of only three children in South Africa who have been diagnosed with Majewski Ectodysplasin Primordial Dwarfism, an uncommon condition that is characterised by neurological and skeletal difficulties.

Tiisetso’s enthusiasm for fashion design is evident in her unwavering confidence in her capacity to become one of the world’s most accomplished fashion designers, despite the challenges she encounters.


On May 27th, the Reach for a Dream Foundation organised a special event at Bernina SA’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, in recognition of Tiisetso’s extraordinary aptitude and unwavering determination. The day commenced with an extraordinary encounter between Tiisetso and her role model, Pokane, one of South Africa’s most renowned fashion designers.

“As a fashion designer with over two decades of experience, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of my brand, from creating custom dresses to establishing stores at O.R. Tambo International Airport,” pointed out Pokane. “When Reach For A Dream reached out to me about Tiisetso and her aspirations in fashion design, I was thrilled to offer my support and guidance.”

Linda Venter takes Tiisetso through sewing paces whilst Anna Moagi (Tiisetso’s mum) and designer, Machere, looks on

Pokane shared her inspiring tale and provided Tiisetso with invaluable advice to assist her in navigating her journey to success. “My encounter with Tiisetso was an extraordinary experience.” Her passion and aptitude were immediately apparent, and I was impressed by the skills she had already acquired through her school’s sewing classes. Pokane further stated that Tiisetso possesses an extraordinary capacity to learn rapidly and exudes confidence, despite her youth.

Tiisetso was granted an exclusive tour of Bernina SA’s cutting-edge facilities and a private, one-on-one sewing instruction after this intimate encounter. As the event concluded, Bernina SA presented Tiisetso with a life-changing gift: a sewing machine and a selection of premium fabrics. This gift has given her the confidence and support to continue her fashion design voyage.

Linda Venter, Bernina’s Special Projects Co-ordinator, expressed her enthusiasm for encouraging Tiisetso’s aspirations: “We at Bernina are committed to empowering individuals through the art of sewing. When Reach For A Dream contacted us regarding Tiisetso’s aspiration to become a fashion designer, we were eager to participate. It is always a pleasure to aid these young individuals who are truly inspiring and to assist in the realisation of their aspirations.”

Anna Moagi, Tiisetso’s mother, expressed her profound appreciation for the Reach for the Dream Foundation: “I am unable to articulate the depth of my gratitude to the organisation for transforming Tiisetso’s aspirations into tangible accomplishments.”

In addition to coordinating the support and mentorship of renowned designer Machere Pokane, they also facilitated the gift of a top-quality Bernina sewing machine.

Some of the gifts that Tiisetso got from Bernina. Linda Venter (left) is joined by Anna Moagi (with cap on), Tiisetso’s grandmother and Machere (right)

Athi Sobazile, a dedicated field worker at the Reach for the Dream Foundation, was instrumental in the realisation of Tiisetso’s aspiration. She initially encountered Tiisetso during one of her visits to hospitals and clinics. “I communicated the foundation’s mission and the difference we aspired to make in Tiisetso’s life to her mother with the utmost care and sensitivity.” “I discovered Tiisetso’s most profound aspiration to become a fashion designer and realise her creative visions through sincere conversations and gentle questioning,” Sobazile disclosed.

Armed with this invaluable information, Sobazile presented Tiisetso’s aspiration to the Johannesburg team leader of the foundation, Silindile Tsotetsi, who meticulously devised the ideal fantasy experience for Tiisetso. “Despite the foundation’s best efforts to expedite the fulfilment of dreams, Tiisetso’s dream required a bit more time to be arranged as a result of a variety of factors.  Nevertheless, this only served to bolster the team’s resolve to develop an even more extraordinary experience for this deserving young lady,” Sobazile elucidated.

The cooperation between Bernina SA, Machere Pokane, Wimpy, and the Reach for a Dream Foundation is an illustration of the transformative power of compassion and unity. They have sparked a flame that will propel Tiisetso towards a future brimming with boundless potential by uniting to support her aspirations. Wimpy has been a proud sponsor and partner of the Reach for a Dream Foundation for the past ten years.

“I am dedicated to helping Tiisetso locate an appropriate sewing school to further her education as she nears the conclusion of her academic career next year. Furthermore, I am enthusiastic about the prospect of offering her the chance to intern at my factory during the school holidays, which will enable her to gain practical experience in a commercial environment.”

Pokane underscored her unwavering dedication to Tiisetso’s growth and development.

Linda Venter shows some sewing literature to Tiisetso

Tiisetso’s narrative serves as an inspiration, reminding us that each child is endowed with an abundance of latent potential that is awaiting cultivation and celebration. Tiisetso can transform her aspirations into tangible creations because of the unwavering support of her mentors and the Reach for a Dream Foundation. Each stitch is a reflection of the resilience of the human heart and her indomitable spirit.

Bernina, Wimpy, designer Pokane, and the Reach for a Dream Foundation have not only realised Tiisetso’s aspirations for fashion design, but they have also demonstrated the astonishing potential of collaboration, generosity, and the unwavering belief in the capabilities of a young girl with a passion for creating beautiful objects.

Tiisetso is a beacon of optimism for other young dreamers as she begins this new chapter in her life, armed with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to succeed. Her narrative serves as a poignant reminder that with the assistance of a compassionate community, perseverance, and dedication, no ambition is too large to achieve, and no challenge is insurmountable.




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