Design

Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg is Delicately Weaving Her Name Into The International Textile Space

Recently awarded 'Best New Talent' by Monocle, Sweden-based South African textile designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg on her unique collaborations with other African designers and her tremendous love for weaving.

Weaving is one of the oldest practices in textile production. Expertly interlacing yarns, over a loom, to produce a variety of fabrics is something South African designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg knows all too well. The recent recipient of Monocle's "Best New Talent" award, Mlangeni-Berg's love for the African continent, its burgeoning textile industry and the empowerment of its artisans is at the fore. Succinctly put, she's putting African designers in the textiles realm on the map.

Born and bred in Kagiso, Krugersdorp — and now based in one of the world's elite design hubs, Sweden — Mlangeni-Berg is currently on a mission to channel back the resources at her disposal to fellow designers across the African continent. Collaboration, something she values extensively, is at the heart of her craft.

The beauty of her childhood experiences, her Zulu-Ndebele roots and love for South Africa often inspire Mlangeni-Berg's unique creations. In 2017, the designer's Sankara Rug, which referenced the popular Ndebele patterns and traditional reed dance, was named the "Most Beautiful Object in South Africa" by Design Indaba – a remarkable accomplishment for the then upcoming designer.

Mlangeni-Berg is a huge advocate of weaving the past and future together, as well as connecting the old with the contemporary. We caught up with her to discuss being a multi award-winning designer, her current projects and grand hopes for Africa's textile design space.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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