Gerhardt Shebe with a model.

The Tshwane Fashion Festival not only ended with different garments being showcased, it also gave an opportunity to deserving models and designers to grow further in the industry. Dipolelo Semenya, Gerhardt Shebe, both fashion designers and models: Mpho Mokoena, Rejoice Mojusi and Themba Manganyi were chosen from Tshwane Fashion Festival to represent South Africa at the Botswana Fashion Festival this year.

Mpho Mokoena. Picture: Thobile Mazibuko.

Started off from the kitchen, Shebe proved that anything is possible and one should always focus on their dreams regardless of their circumstances. “I started off as a chef, for four years I was in the kitchen, making food and thinking about fashion. One day I picked up my phone and called my mother to tell her, ‘mom I’m quitting my job to be a fashion designer’. That was March 2011 and on that very same year, I won designer of the year at Fashion Academy. The following year I won at the Crystal Fashion Awards and that’s when I told myself that I came here to win, all I do is win,” said Shebe. He’s also dressed prominent models such as the former Miss South Africa, Tatum Keshwar and has been recently named as the Free State Fashion Designer of the year.

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Dipolelo Semenya, who also quit her job as a scientist to be hands on in the fashion industry was overwhelmed to be chosen among many other talented African designers to go represent South Africa. “This was unexpected, there was an obvious guy, Gerhardt and I thought it would be him and a couple of others, just not me. I was ready to clap for the next designer to be called and when they announced Deep Bow, I literally froze and my friend screamed and shook me up because I didn’t believe it. Even now, I still need to sleep it off but nonetheless, I am very honoured and happy about going to showcase in Botswana,” said Semenya.

WATCH: African designers put a great show at #TFF2017

Growing up as a “girly girl” and obsessed with fashion and looking good, Semenya seems not to regret the decision she took last year of leaving the laboratory and being a full time designer. “I’ve always been obsessed with fashion and looking good. I am a girly girl, always elegant in heels with hair and nails on point so this actually feels amazing. Coming from a science environment, fashion designing is something I used to do during my spare time.When my friends were out there partying, I would be busy cutting fabric without knowing what would come out but eventually, something good came out of it,” added Semenya.

Themba Manganyi. Picture: Thobile Mazibuko.

Mpho Mokoena (21) of Limpopo, slayed on the ramp and although she didn’t see it coming, she really deserved to be chosen to go represent the country. Growing up, Mokoena has always loved being a model and this is another stepping stone in her modelling career. “I’ve always loved being a model ever since I was young, I was actually born for this. Coming from a small town, Phalale, I got a mentor to show me how to walk and pose but this, I really never expected to be selected. I was ready to go home immediately after the show until they announced my name. I am very happy and cannot even explain how joyful I am”, she said.

Representing the males on the ramp will be Themba Manganyi of Mamelodi who was very excited to even talk. “I don’t know what to say, I feel like crying because I never saw this coming. To me it wasn’t a competition, I was just doing what I do best,” said Manganyi.

WATCH: Themba Manganyi shows off his abs.

Momoche of Ivory Coast is also one of the designers who were chosen from the Tshwane Fashion Festival to go showcase in Botswana. The Botswana Fashion Festival is happening in August 2017.