Rheola’s Story

Rheola began producing her first knitwear in the early 80s. She started to spend her spare time creating fairaisle jerseys, which she sold at her Johannesburg market stall. She also made gloves and scarves, and began to provide her produce to local shops and other traders. Soon she was able to leave her office job, and begin working full time designing and making her own range of knitwear.

Around 1990, Rheola and her husband moved from busy Joburg to the beautiful rural town of Harrismith. It was here she first realised her dream of her own shop, a permanent home for her label, as well as the many other designs she either creates, homes or displays from other artists. Her first shop opened, and was a wonderful place for her to showcase all these things. However, the location of the shop, on the lorry heavy industrial side of town was not ideal, and after 4 years, she moved the shop to her own home.

Now, 10 years later, and the Country Collection shop is flourishing. Walking through the door is an instant treat for visitors, with intricate beading, musical instruments, ornate tablecloths, decorations, comfortable stylish clothing, traditional (and non traditional) ornaments, and countless other gems from the world of craftwork. As well as cotton garments, Rheola has taken a strong interest in organic fabrics, such as 100% cotton, and bamboo wool; see the Rheola’s Knitwear and Tsa Lapeng pages for more from her wonderful range.

With the pressure of running the shop and knitwear eased by her wonderful staff, Rheola has been able to concentrate on a new project recently. She contacted the local charity Tshwaranang, and together they came up with a unique income generating project for those in a poor area. Working with local women in the nearby village of Makholokoeng, Rheola has designed some small intricate pieces, such as bags, scarves and lapel roses. With funding from N3TC, under her guidance they knit and crochet these items, and she distributes them to local shops, as well as her own. The project is called “Tsa Lapeng“, which means “made at home” in Sotho.

So that brings us up to date; only time will tell the future of Rheola’s work. If you wish to find out more information, please visit the links above, use the menu on the left, or you can contact Rheola yourself. Thank you for visiting!