Meet Esethu Cenga: Championing Sustainable Fashion in Africa

Esethu Cenga, co-founder and CEO of Rewoven, is a dynamic leader passionately committed to sustainability and development, particularly within the African context. Her journey, marked by a robust academic background and a fervent dedication to environmental and social causes, reflects her vision of a future where profit, people, and the planet are equally prioritized.

Academic Foundations

Esethu’s academic journey began at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she pursued a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Her curiosity and drive led her to further her studies, obtaining a BSocSci Honours Degree in the same fields and later, a Master of Commerce specializing in Economic Development. This comprehensive academic foundation has equipped her with a holistic understanding of the challenges posed by globalization and the innovative solutions that Africa can adopt to address these issues.

Professional Endeavors

Esethu’s professional journey is characterized by her proactive approach to creating meaningful impact. In 2017, she co-founded Rewoven, a pioneering textile recycling start-up that aims to divert fashion waste from landfills and create much-needed jobs. Rewoven collects off-cut fabric waste generated during garment production, processes it into fibers, and re-weaves it into high-quality fabric. This innovative approach not only helps clean the environment but also supports a circular economy in the fashion industry.

In addition to Rewoven, Esethu co-founded the Future of Fashion, a sustainable fashion indaba that promotes collaborative knowledge-sharing to foster a thriving, inclusive, and ethical local fashion industry. Through events like the Future of Fashion Indaba, special programs, and research and consulting, she has been instrumental in driving forward the agenda of sustainable fashion in South Africa.

Recognitions and Contributions

Esethu’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. She was named among the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans, recognizing her efforts in the environmental sector. Her leadership potential was also acknowledged by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, where she was awarded a prestigious scholarship. As a Fellow in Residence at the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Esethu has been involved in developing support structures that foster entrepreneurship and community engagement.

Personal Philosophy

Esethu’s passion for sustainability is deeply rooted in her belief that human survival and development are intrinsically linked to sustainable practices that consider profit, people, planet, and general wellbeing. Her upbringing in the Eastern Cape and her experiences in Cape Town have shaped her into a multifaceted individual, driven by the desire to maximize human potential and live authentically.

Her academic achievements, professional milestones, and personal philosophy converge in her work with Rewoven and Future of Fashion, where she continues to lead by example, inspiring others to adopt sustainable practices and create positive change in their communities.

Esethu Cenga is more than just a leader in sustainable fashion; she is a visionary who is redefining the future of fashion in Africa, one recycled thread at a time.