Bursting with colour and culture, Nengarivo Mollel’s clothing and accessories stall at the Moor Market brings a little bit of Africa to Sheffield.
Tanzania-born Nengarivo opened her stall, called MHACAGI, at the market two years ago.
She said: “I have been in the UK for 10 years, I came to study. I considered going back, but my son – Nathaniel Kalombo, now aged eight – had always known here as home so I decided to stay. But, I needed to do something to keep a little bit of home with me, so I decided to open my businesses.”
Nengarivo is part of the Maasai tribe, who live in both Tanzania and Kenya.
She added: “It is so different back home to the way it is here. The women hand make the clothes for themselves or their family, but they don’t have any means to sell them. I wanted to do something to help them.
“The women make the clothes and send them over so I can sell it over here. I then send the money back to them. It’s life-changing for them.
“They use the money to buy food for their families or for things like soap and toothpaste which we can take for granted here. It means so much to them and I am so glad I am able to help.”
The first thing you notice when you step in to the stall is the explosion of colour, the second is the array of fabrics and patterns.
Hundreds of dresses hang from the walls; and each glance reveals something new.
The clothes are popular with women of all ages, shapes and sizes – and all cultures.
Nengarivo said: “I do have Maasai women coming in who say they are pleased that there is finally a clothing store for African women.
“But, I do also sell quite a lot to English women. The clothes are so colourful and beautiful and they love it. They love the feel of the fabric and the bold designs. I also provide for women of all sizes.”
It is not just clothes on offer, there’s also authentic Maasai jewellery, handbags, accessories and arts and crafts. So, if you’re not feeling brave enough to step out in a traditional floor-length Maasai dress, you can always try a delicate beaded necklace, bracelet or even keyring.
Mum-of-one Nengarivo hopes that her business will grow even further.
“My vision is to be able to provide something from women all around the world.
“I really want to celebrate women and show all the great things they can do. I want to have one place where everyone can feel at home and people can learn about a variety of cultures.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, I’ve had some great feedback.”
MHACAGI is open at the Moor Market from 9am until 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday. Students receive a 10 per cent discount. Regular customers who spend £25 or more will also receive a £5 piece of fabric. Nengarivo is soon hoping to sell her items online. Search ‘Maasai Gifts and African Corner’ on Facebook.
For more information about other traders at the Moor Market, including the Herbal and Massage stall and Smith and Tissington’s, pick up a copy of today’s Star.