Sulinda Muller believes in giving second chances, not only to clothing, but to people as well. In 2012 she opened the shop Malaki, with a heartfelt vision of empowering women in and around the Stellenbosch area. Malaki, which now specialises in unique local fashion, gave her the platform to start the initiative Second Chances, through which she helps women use their past as stepping stones to a better future.
Our youngest son was diagnosed with cancer when he was only four years old. Ironically, it was through this painful journey of relentless hospital visits that I came to know God as loving and faithful. I realised that while we might know about God’s love, when the storms come, we don’t know how to overcome. We don’t know how to go through the storm.
After walking the journey of our son’s illness to his eventual recovery, I was so thankful for God’s mercy. I became passionate about supporting women in overcoming their storms. The experience also left me with a desire to see God’s purposes fulfilled in and through my life, and one day in 2012 when I read “Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:5) I prayed, “Lord, I want to work for you. I want to work with women, and I want to be creative. I need some money as well, and I really expect you to answer me.” God gave me the vision of a shop with the name Malaki, which means ‘messenger’.
Hearing is one thing, but obeying is another! Even though I knew I should open a shop, the fear of failure was so great that I didn’t even want to start. Then I saw an image of a baby in a walking ring and realised, I’m in a safe space. Baby steps.
I started to make and sell felt necklaces at the Kamers Vol Geskenke market. Then one night in 2014 I had a vivid dream, and heard God saying: “You shall make tunics for my honour and praise.” I realised that once again I needed to step out in faith, and set up what was basically a glorified pop-up shop together with five other women. I had only R1,000 and spent that on buying the rails! After meeting a woman who had suffered terrible abuse, the words ‘second chances’ came to mind, and I realised that I could start selling second hand clothes together with new items – giving old items a new life while also celebrating God’s abundance.
Today Malaki is a flourishing shop in Stellenbosch and we’ve recently opened up a pop-up shop in the Jamestown community as well. But what is important is that the shop is not just about sales – it’s about connecting with people, being sensitive to know when someone needs an encouraging word. It’s a platform to bring a message of hope to people who desperately need it. It’s not just about sustainable living and giving clothing a second chance, it’s also about giving people second chances.
Sometimes we want God to change our circumstances, while He wants us to look through a different lens. Along this journey, I sometimes struggled with terrible fear. Fear of failure, fear of doing the wrong thing. Yet 1 John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear.” I realised that the reason I was afraid, was because I didn’t see God’s involvement in my circumstance. Now whenever I am fearful, I stop and ask God to reveal Himself and His will to me in that particular situation. I have learned that step by step we learn to walk. As we come to know Him more, we realise that the journey never ends. There is always more of Him to discover.