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“I love the power of clothing and the transformative quality of dressing up,” says Sebo from his studio in Johannesburg, adding that his brand is a reflection of his outgoing personality and zest for life.
“I guess you can say I packed my life and my designs in a suitcase and chased my dreams,” laughs Sebo as he shares his colourful life journey – both locally and internationally – and his quest to always look and feel good.
A small-town boy dreaming of bright city lights
Born and raised in Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province, Sebo remembers always dreaming of life in a big city. He recalls being “absolutely mesmerised” by what he saw on television and started dreaming of bright city lights.
After high school, he took a gap year in 2010, joining the Hillbrow Theatre Company as a production cast member of the Hlananathi Theatre Project.
“It truly felt as it my childhood dreams had come true, and I loved every moment on stage and performed with all my heart and soul.”Sebo recalls how he had the privilege of touring across South Africa for six months during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, performing traditional dances, short stage plays and musicals.
After that, he started working for a large commercial bank as a telephone banking and customer service agent, and for two years he “earned a good living” while still being part of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. The skills he learnt then are skills he holds dear as customer service is pivotal to his business success.
Joining the NWU
By then, a university degree was beckoning. Sebo joined the NWU in Vanderbijlpark in 2012 and graduated with a BCom Marketing and Business Management degree in 2015.
“I loved everything about university life,” says Sebo, adding that the NWU gave him his first exposure to international travel and set him on the path to entrepreneurship. (See “Yebo!” text box on the left.)
Heeding the call of entrepreneurship
A self-confessed party goer, Sebo says it is not always easy to look the part without the cash to continually buy new outfits. Instead, he used to “zoosh up” his outfits by adding funky and colourful elements. It wasn’t long before his designs were being noticed and friends were asking him to design and make outfits.
One suitcase, 20 dresses
Wanting to see more of the world, he left for America to work as a counsellor at a Summer Camp. He left South Africa with the bare necessities but took along an extra suitcase with 20 dresses he had made.
“I still laugh when I think about the reaction of the baggage screener when he saw the dresses; it was priceless!”
Four weeks after starting to sell his dresses in America, they were sold out. “Because I always wear my own brand, people could see and experience the vibe of Africa first hand, and that excited them,” says Sebo.
He saved up all the money he earned and upon his return to South Africa officially started his Caraci label in 2017.
Today, the dream continues to unfold.
Fascinated by bold African prints and pops of colour, entrepreneur and fashion designer Sebo Marobela is making waves and turning heads wherever he goes. If the growing popularity of his fashion label, Caraci, is anything to go by, the future looks bright.
As one of the first team presidents for the Young Entrepreneurs Business Organisation (YEBO) on the campus, Sebo had the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a possible career.
Here are Sebo and his fellow committee members during the launch of the YEBO student body. They are from left Sebo, Zaakir Choonara, Neil Amero Kruger, Tumi Maretlwa, Chane Sharp, Bernice Robberse, Ncebayakhe Magodla and YEBO guardian, Dr Natanya Meyer.
It was through YEBO that Sebo visited the Netherlands in 2014, where he and his team won third place at the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week. From left are Sebo, Ncebayakhe Magodla, Bernice Robberse, Chane Sharp, Zaakir Choonara and Neil Amero Kruger.
NWU & U