Fashion designer Lindo Mavuso (23) was convicted of murder and spent four years in jail before he turned 18.
Mavuso was arrested for the mob justice murder of a man who stole property from him, that he had stolen from someone else.
“In 2015, a man broke into the place we used as a storage facility for stolen goods. I caught up with him a few days later, when he was selling our things in Alexandra.
“I took him to my gang members, and he was beaten to death. When the police investigated the case, they charged me as the person who initiated the assault,” says Mavuso.
When in prison, he joined the prison gang. When he saw his friends being released before him, he realised that the only way to get out of prison was to change his ways and leave the past behind him.
The first step was to complete matric. Mavuso says: “I left school in Grade 11, so I enrolled to finish high school. While I was busy with that, I took the skills training courses. One of them was sewing.”
When he was released from prison, he looked for a job. “I found a couple of jobs, but potential employers would do a fingerprint check. When they found out about my criminal record, I would not get the job.“
Having promised himself that he would never go back to a life of crime, Mavuso used his sewing skills to make face masks when the Coronavirus Disease hit the country. He then expanded his operations and began making dresses. These caught the eye of a boutique store owner, who asked him for samples.
Mavuso now also sells to people who come directly to him. He says he was able to turn his life around thanks, in part, to anger management classes held by the Department of Social Development.
“I got into the life of crime in 2011 but now I am able to avoid situations that would send me back to prison as I am equipped with anger management skills,” Mavuso says. He advises young people to take part in these programmes.