Orapeleng Modutle, a 29-year-old fashion designer, confessed that he was part of a troublesome gang back in Kimberley, Northern Cape, in his younger days.
"I grew up as a gay guy. I never hid the fact that I was gay and I was bullied as a result," he says. Modutle says in high school, he had to find a group to fit into.
"I became part of a gang that would steal, hit people and just do bad things ."
Modutle says after failing grade 10 twice, he realised something had to change.
"I distanced myself from the gang and decided to get my life together." When he finished matric, he enrolled at Tshwane University of Technology to study fashion design.
"I'm from a family of needles. Although, when I got to school things were hectic and it was very competitive," he says. "I pushed on, learning the business side of fashion and it worked."
Modutle says after finishing his degree, he went straight into an internship.
"I worked under Nkhensani Nkosi and I have learned a lot from her," he says.
The emerging designer says his dream came true when he dressed TV and radio personality Bonang Matheba. She was on the cover of Glamour Magazine SA for the October to December issue wearing a dress and hat made by his label, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue.
"I have always wanted to dress Bonang. After that dress, I got to dress big names such as Minnie, Nomzamo and many others," he says. He also does bridal designs.
"Our style is fit for the opulent woman travelling overseas. I'm also working on ready-to-wear clothing," he says.
Modutle will showcase his bridal style at the Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week at the end of March in Cape Town. He has also showcased his work in Zambia, Namibia, Nigeria and Botswana.