Inspirational people of KwaZulu-Natal

Inspirational people of KwaZulu-Natal


Reflecting on the “Inspirational People of KwaZulu-Natal” interview conducted a few years ago featuring Mark Sykes, our General Manager at NBI. We take great pride in having a dedicated management team and employees who are deeply committed to their roles and their local community. 

Read the complete (updated) feature article below:

Currently I am the General Manager for National Braiding, which is based at Loskop in the Drakensberg area.  This is a very remote region and we provide employment for +/-100 local community members.  The only other manufacturer here is Bata Footwear behind us, so employment opportunities in the industrial sector are not abundant.

I grew up in Howick, so the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is in my blood.  My career path took me to Johannesburg for a while, but I returned to KwaZulu-Natal in 2001 and joined the SA Bias Group in Estcourt in 2003.  SA Bias is an international organisation with operations in South Africa, Europe and Australia.  Our head office is based in Cape Town.

Being firmly entrenched in this rural community for many years takes our role beyond just braiding. 

We have purchased the land next door and set up a creche for the children of our employees and those from Bata Footwear.  We have sponsored all costs and ad hoc requirements for this facility.  Through our sister company Narrowtex in Estcourt, the group has also built an extra classroom, with 25 PCs and software, to establish an IT facility at a local school.

Furthermore, we take in 10 to 15 young people on a one-year internship programme that provides them with a formal qualification in weaving and braiding.  We started out predominantly in the production of shoelaces for Bata Footwear, but we have expanded our range to include ropes and cords.  The group also exports to Australia and the African continent.  We are also exploring the production of new high-tech products.

My wife is a teacher and, together with our two children, we enjoy the tranquillity of the Midlands.  There is no hustle and bustle here, just a 20-minute scenic drive to and from work each day and the added pleasure of having the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains on our doorstep.

NBI Specialised IRATA membership



Exciting news! We’re delighted to share that we’ve achieved official associate membership status with the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA). IRATA is a globally recognized organization dedicated to upholding industry standards and ensuring safety in the field of industrial rope access. At NBI Specialised, we’re proud to be affiliated with such a prestigious authority in our profession #IRATA #SafetyFirst #ProudMember #AccessRope

Introducing the new NBI Specialised Dynamic Rope



We’re excited to share that our NBI Specialised Rope range has expanded! Our latest addition is the 10.5mm dynamic rope, made with a nylon outer and high elongation nylon inner composition.

The rope provides a dynamic elongation of 28.5%, fall arrest impact of 10.7N, and tensile strength of 2152 Kg. These excellent performance capabilities make it the reliable choice.

Our speciality ropes are rigorously tested to ensure they meet the highest safety standards and are suitable for use in a variety of applications. Our dynamic rope is CE certified to meet EN 892:2012 standards.  We are committed to continue providing our customers with the best quality ropes that are reliable, durable and safe. 

For more information, visit our Access Ropes webpage.

A new school sign for Othandweni Crèche

A new school sign for Othandweni Crèche


At NBI, we are humbled to have had the opportunity to extend our support to the Othandweni Crèche, and witness the growth and development of these wonderful children.

The creche was established in 2011 and is a registered NPO with the Department of Social Development.  In its early years, it operated out of a single-room facility but blossomed further in 2013 when NBI had the privilege to donate a park home and an enclosed area of land with ablution facilities on our property.

In 2019 we erected a further 2 classrooms and upgraded the ablutions. This was done in order for them to accommodate the growing number of students (then 58) and furthermore meet the criteria to qualify them for government grants.

Whilst the Creche is independently run by its Governing Body, NBI continues to provide support in terms of land, infrastructure, electricity and water, monthly food contributions and ad-hoc assistance on books and teaching aids.

More recently, we were thrilled to present them with a stunning new school sign, which we hope will serve as a symbol of the bright future that awaits them.

It is truly heartening to see the dedication and passion with which the staff at the Crèche work towards providing these (now 90) children with a nurturing and stimulating environment. We are proud to be associated with such a remarkable school and look forward to continuing our efforts to support them in the future.