Passion for Fashion: Meet Nanga Kelly Ashley, A 12-Year-Old Cameroonian Designer

One thing I have come to accept in my life as a business coach is that everyone had abilities as they grew up that did not reflect those of their parents. We all have talents that we didn’t acquire but grew up practicing with ease. Take for instance body-twisting, gymnastic, a penchant for piano or even the ability to make others laugh. For instance, Nanga Kelly Ashley is using her passion for fashion to improve her skills as the youngest fashion designer in Cameroon.

Nanga Kelly during the competition

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Talent can come in different forms, but may need extra effort in order to make it shine out. As for children, they may not recognize their talents at an early age though they may instinctively follow it. If your child shows interest in singing or dancing, it could be a sign that she’s a musician or dancer in the making.

That is the case of 12-year old Cameroonian designer-in-the-making, Nanga Kelly Ashley who loved watching stars and their dresses and dreaming to buy those dresses when she grows up. At the age of 6, Kelly thought those dresses she had been seeing on movies can only be made in the West.

Paying a visit to her seamstress-auntie’s shop, she asked if those dresses stars put on in the USA and Europe could actually be made here. With an affirmative response from her aunt, Ashley later that evening told her parents she will want to design and sew dresses.

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This is usually the level where parents will either make or mar. Some parents will kill the opportunity immediately, others will delay and others will pick it up. What many parents don’t understand is that talent in particular needs openings to develop. Once no opportunity comes in for a skill to be developed, it may end up suppressed. Many of such opportunities come daily and we suppress them. Once it remains suppressed for long, it may end up becoming too late for it to be developed to its full potential.

Her parents accepted her choice, but told her she has to go to school and will do that during the holidays. That was wise of them because no parent in this era will want to see their talented kid not able to read or write. However, they took the opportunity during the Anglophone crisis that has been hitting the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon for more than two years now to let their daughter take lessons in designing and sewing. It should be noted that there has been a school lock-down since the crisis started in 2016.

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They used this opportunity to step out and teach their daughter the skill which she has been so passionate about. At times you introduce them into activities that can help them pursue their skills like in the case of this competition which Ashley took part in. During the arts competition organized by Kids’ Hall of Talents Foundation, Nanga Kelly Ashley brought along her machine, randomly called someone in the crowd, took her measurement and within 4 hours, she had designed and sewn a dress for her.

It was awesome because the organizers of the competition were out to pick talent and they met one whom they had not been prepared to have since that department was nonexistent at the time.

Nanga Kelly Ashley
Kowan, Nanga Kelly Ashley during the competition

Parents who have recognized their children’s talent will always praise and encourage them. This will help a lot in developing the recognized talents. To add to that, parents will have to look for opportunities whereby the children can demonstrate their skills to friends, relatives or in public like in the case of Ashley above.

Mentors or teachers may provide openings to show case the child’s talent. This is exactly what Tengu Solange, manager and co-founder of Kids’ Hall of Talents Foundation which Nanga Kelly is one its beneficiaries.

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Solange, a Microbiology graduate from the University of Buea, Cameroon has been moving around from TV & radio stations trying to promote Nanga Kelly Ashley. She leaves no opportunity pass around just to showcase the talents of the kids she help to develop. Her passion for music, basketball and helping others made her to start this initiative. Her work is in identify

ing, developing and promoting talents in kids. Solange Tengu is also a Quality Control Consultant and Founder of Esse.BE Ltd.

Ashley Nanga Kelly is just one of the talents the Kids’ Hall of Talents Foundation has brought to the lime light. One of it’s music talent, Kowan, won the 237 Show Biz Music Competition. Kowan has been making waves in Cameroon as the youngest rapper, winning competitions and selected for awards.

Kowan – Rapper

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Kowan was nominated for the Revelation of the Year category in the NBACA Award alongside big names in the music industry like Young Holiday, Wan Shey, Sighan and Gody Ef. The kid’s fame has even gone international as his work was selected in the 1st Edition of the Crystal Beauty Show Freestyle Contest in the United States of America. He was also nominated for the Urban Jamz Awards as the Next Rated Act alongside another child prodigy, Otang.

With such a talent as that of Nanga Kelly Ashley, she needs to be provided a background to help in its enrichment. This is what Kids’ Hall of Talents Foundation has been doing to develop and promote Ashley. With such a background, her talent would shine and worth pursuing if she enjoys it – that we have already seen, because she has a passion for fashion.

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