HALALA
02/05/2018 08:47 SAST | Updated 02/05/2018 08:47 SAST

WATCH: How This Informal Kagiso Modelling School Helps Local Kids Gain Confidence

"I used to watch the others modelling and I thought It could help me stay away from the streets. Since I have started modelling, I have made friends and we have formed a family."

Martha "Dalinkie" Magosane is passionate about modelling, despite the fact that the life of a model has eluded her. Now she is turning that passion towards helping the young children of Mogale City to learn the art.

Rihanna's voice blares from speakers at a house in Dumelang Street, but it's not for a party. Looking into the yard one notices only children standing in a line. One by one each child gets a chance to strut their stuff to DJ Khalid's "Wild Thoughts".

This is where Magosane, known to locals as Dalinkie, runs her Ambicious Modelling School - a place where the local children are taught all the tricks of the catwalk absolutely pro bono - Dalinkie's son Jerome among them.

According to Jerome, modelling has not only helped him stay off the dusty and sometimes dangerous streets of Mogale City, it has also built his confidence.

"I used to watch the others modelling and I thought It could help me stay away from the streets. Since I have started modelling, I have made friends and we have formed a family," he said.

"I was shy before I started modelling and I was scared of getting on to stage, but when I started modelling, I realised that I should not be afraid, the audience are just human-beings," he explained.

Canny Maphanga

Modelling is not a usual activity for boys in the neighbourhood but Jerome insists it excites him.

"[When I started modelling at a fashion show] I felt happy, I was not worried whether people were laughing at me or whatever they were saying, as long as I am doing what I came to do and what I love.

"I would like to pursue professional modelling one day and travel the world so that people can see my talent."

"Since I started modelling, I am not that shy, I can interact with people."

Soft-spoken, 16-year-old Onalenna Muetile says modelling has changed her as a person.

"Since I started modelling, I am not that shy, I can interact with people. It also helped me work harder because I have dreams. Before I was used to hiding from people," she told HuffPost.

She has been involved in fashion shows where she has helped designers showcase their clothes. She is now considering a career in fashion design.

"This year we designed our own clothes using plastics. I designed five outfits for myself. I had designed black trousers with a jersey and cocktail dresses. I would consider a career in fashion designing" she said.

"I get along with most of the models and its fun because we are like sisters and we can talk. Ous Dalinkie is like our mother."

Amogelang Moalusi is only eight years old, but she has already been placed at her first pageant.

"I was part of a beauty pageant and I modelled, the judges looked at me and wrote down my marks and I won, I was second princess. I felt happy. I won a crown, a sash, toys, chips and sweets. My mother was happy when she heard that I had won."

'I see more confidence from children I have worked with for a while'

Dalinkie's own modelling career was cut short owing to financial constraints, the school is her way to try and involve herself in the industry while also giving back.

"I stopped because I wanted to join an agency in Sandton. I did not have money for a portfolio so I ended up having to give up on my dream," she said.

When she started Ambicious Modelling School, she had strict weight and height requirements but now she wants to change that.

"I had an event - some young girls approached me and asked if I would consider including plus-size models. So I thought about and I want to go ahead with it," she said.

Canny Maphanga

"I see more confidence from children I have worked with for a while. I have been entering them into pageants to see how they perform on stage.

"They understand what I am teaching them. I taught them how to perform when they are onstage and how to interact with audience and judges," she added.

Like the people around them, the school is not well off, and faces a number of challenges as a result.

"We struggle a lot especially when it is raining. When it is very cold we can't come and perform because we don't have a venue.

"I have tried to approach the municipality in terms of venue. I wanted to use the community hall in the meantime but they since said they would get back to me, I am still waiting."

"It has been five months but I want to continue because when I see the children practising, I can see they have passion," she said.