Retired nurse, fashion designer and published author, Zimbili Shezi shows no signs of slowing down

Smashing the stereotype of the ‘little old lady’

Popular belief has it that 70-year-old women spend their time sitting in an armchair, nodding over their knitting. Not this one!

After her retirement from the nursing profession in 2012, Zimbili Shezi spread her wings and really began to soar. She’s always been interested in fashion. So, with time on her hands, Zimbili decided to study for a diploma in Fashion Design. She began making her own clothes and the compliments came thick and fast. Before she knew it, she was creating garments for a growing circle of fans.

Durban Fashion Fair

In 2016 she applied for the Durban Fashion Fair mentorship programme, never dreaming that she would be accepted. But accepted she was. At 64 years of age, she was the oldest designer in the programme – but her garments were as bold and avant-garde as anyone else’s.

Live Again – a Choice by Zimbili Shezi

It was time for Zimbili to nurture another talent … her gift for poetry and prose. Through her writing, she overcame the trauma of an abusive childhood, to finding healing and forgiveness. Her first book, Live Again – A Choice, was published in March 2021, in the middle of the national Covid lockdown. The book is a record of her healing journey, and is available on Amazon.

Now aged 70, Zimbili shows no sign of slowing down. She continues to create awesome garments from her home at Tafta, and has her own blog, where she posts inspirational quotes on love, life and hope. This septuagenarian chooses to live every day to the full!


“Every elegant rose grew in the dirt
and fought its way to tower above
the thorns.” – Zimbili Shezi