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Young Soweto designers selling trendy clothes on pavements

Mokgethi Mokotso (left) and other young people from his streets in Orlando, Soweto are creating jobs for themselves. Picture: Tshabalira Lebakeng

By Tshabalira Lebakeng

A group of young people in Orlando, Soweto, have decided they will not wait for the government to create jobs for them, they are designing and selling trendy clothes from the side of the road. It all began three years ago when Mokgethi Mokotso (24) had his schoolbag stolen.

‘One day at school I found my school books on the floor. My school bag had been stolen. My mother and older brother didn’t have money to buy me a new bag. I took my mother’s new jean skirt and designed myself a school bag. My mother was not happy at all. But at least I had a bag, ‘’ said Mokotso. Friends and family could not stop complimenting him on how good his new bag looked.

After that, he designed a jacket, which he sewed by hand. The jacket was also a hit. 'People could not believe it was handmade because of the quality of the stitching. That’s when people started asking him to make clothes for them.'

Later, a neighbour gave him a sewing machine, which allowed him to work faster and produce more clothes. He then started selling these outside his house. Is’korobho Clothing was born.

When other young people who live on the same street saw his clothes, they wanted in. Musa Xaba (23) left his job in a printing company to join Mokotso.

"He makes clothes, me I print them. Names or logos. I like what I’m doing, this is my only work I have. I have hope that our company will grow and our parents will be proud of us"said Xaba.

His sister, Kwanele Xaba (20), is the model for the clothes they make.

"The clothes are unique. When I am wearing them I can feel that I’m young. I don’t like to wear something that you can meet someone wearing in the street. I’m young, I must wear young people designs,’’ said Xaba.

A client, Lucky Samela (24), told that he loves the quality he gets from Is’korobho Clothing. “I’m in love with their designs. Because they are made out of love. If you asked them to print or design something, they do. When I am wearing their clothes, I get a positive response from the community," said Samela.


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