Cape-Town based Designer; Daniel Moleka is creating a women’s collection to bring awareness to the human rights violations in the cobalt mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Although he currently based in Cape Town,Moleka was born in the DRC and was affected by the stories of women and children who are being physically and sexually abused in mines that produce metal which is used to make smartphones.
In recent years, technology companies have been accused of being enablers of this abuse while the Congolese are being excluded from the economic benefits of the rich resources. “I want to raise awareness for that community and I hope that this can influence people to do something,” he said.The young designer said all of the proceeds of the Beni collection will be going to help the victims of abuse.
Beni collection is funded by the Widal Foundation, which was founded by DRC Senator Guy Loando Mboyo and his wife. He also believes that it is important for popular culture and trends to be used to make commentary on world issues. “My generation mostly learns things through popular culture. It’s the best way to bring awareness to the issue,” he said.
Moleka, previously created an anime-themed line through his brand called RedThread Apparel X which was shown at SA Menswear Week on February 8. “This line will be completely different and it is the first time I will be using African design. The garments will have messages relating to the violations,” he said.
The young designer collaborated with designer Emily Symmonds and will be showcasing his exhibition in the next few months.
Symmonds said when she was approached by Daniel to be involved in the Beni Collection, she was captivated right from the start. “The purpose of the collection to raise awareness of the current crisis in Beni, enthralled me. I strongly believe that fashion can be a strong tool in starting conversations about current issues and bringing the issue the attention it deserves, said Symmonds.