KOVA – A holistic approach to artisanship
A KOVA handbag is an acquisition based on beauty and pure feeling. Its simple, classic and clean lines are designed in such a way that the bag, which starts as an accessory, ages with you and soon becomes an extension of yourself. Your movements dictate the lines and creases in the leather and ensures a classic and ever so stylish representation of your personality.
Hailing from Ogongo in 1984, Petrina Auino-Mwandingi was always destined for bigger things. She loved the smell and feel of leather and thought it a most suitable medium for her first experiments in artistic expression. However, moving from the Omusati Region to Windhoek for her education, a chance holiday job steered her career plans in a most unusual direction.
Helping out at a natural health practice during high school, her curiosity was triggered, and she enrolled in a five-year university programme in Naturopathy at the University of the Western Cape.
Petrina returned to Windhoek and, full of vigor of having found her true passion, co-founded and started a health shop in the center of town in 2010. She found her clear calling in assisting people find the real root-core of health issues and treating these with preventative care, alternative medications, nutritional supplements and use of physical treatments.
In 2014, she was one of the lucky Namibians chosen for the YALI Program, first established by former President Barack Obama in 2010. She embarked on a highly interactive six-week program in the USA with the Young African Leadership Initiative, that prepares young Africans for leadership positions and helps kickstart businesses. Armed with all this knowledge, she continued operating her practice in our capital city. Her holistic approach to health, life and protection of the environment, set the tone for realising another dream; to create lasting, sustainable and beautiful handbags.
And so, from the Oshikwanyama word “Onkova”, meaning leather, KOVA was founded in 2017.
Petrina’s designs caught the eye of our Curio team and in 2020, a collaboration was born especially for Gondwana Collection Namibia’s Etosha King Nehale. With the use of royal colors of purple, red and natural leathers, her collection for this property complemented and supports her brand essence.
With such a broad and holistic perspective on life and what entices us to enjoy the simple things, we are most curious to see what original designs will be coming next, as the synergy of her creativity knows no boundaries.
Written by: Sonia Noirfalise