forty aspiring models could have been swindled of N$48000 by a modeling agency called Ellite Modeling Academy.
The Windhoek-based models paid N$450 registration fee each while half of this number went on to graduate after paying a further N$1500 for a month-long training course.
The 20 who graduated received their certificates in September this year at The Playhouse Theatre where they always met outside before being taken to various places for photo-shoots.
The certificates were handed over by Grace Khakane, the only known face of the agency that has no known office or contact details.
Last week, some of the models came forward to complain about how the agency has treated them after taking their money and giving them ‘useless’ certificates.
One of the models, Tuyeni Shilongo told the V-Metro that they were promised that they would be given their photos among other things but they only got certificates.
“Yes, it’s true we paid N$450 and by the 22th of September we needed to give another N$ 1500. We were told that if we did not pay this money, we would not receive our portfolios as well as pictures and certificates. We paid that and till today we only received certificates which were of poor quality by the way,” she revealed.
Zucky Bauleth, another Ellite Agency trainee said they thought their lives would be changed for the better after the training.
“Those people cheated us. We paid N$450 to register for a course that I thought would change my life and get me to a level of a professional model,” she mourned.
Zucky further said Grace promised them a portfolio composing of 30-40 pictures by different photographers, a certificate and a Z-card, “We paid the money and only got those stupid certificates.”
Yet another model who asked not to be named because of her current job said Ellite Agency is ‘unprofessional’.
“That is a very unprofessional agency and to top it up, Grace had a bad attitude. Once in front of us all, she shouted at this girl (Anna) saying ‘this is not your Namibian shit’.
“We were just told about Andy Ambulibe who is the apparent owner of Ellite. But we just saw his facebook account but there was no pictures of his face. I wasted my time and money on that money sucking Agency,” the model said.
An angry Monique van Zyl who could not afford a whole N$1500 but had only N$1000 said, “Money was lost, pride was shattered but the show must continue.”
Monique, however, said she has not given up hopes of becoming a model.
Leena Shindodola described Grace as a rude woman who kept telling that the agency was an international thing and not a ‘Namibian shit’.
“We spend a lot of money on it and we were just taught by someone who does not have any modeling experience. Nobody has ever heard of her working as a model,” she said.
Leena further said initially, she could not raise the full amount paying N$700 and was allowed in to increase the numbers.
The hired photographer, Abisai Haiduwa, said Grace sent her an sms telling him that the girls had gone to the media to complain.
Grace’s mobile number was not reachable but she wrote on her facebook page saying she was sick of the media.
“I am so sick and tired of dis media, yal been on d case for 3months now, yet I wonda y yal neva approach me or my boss, yet yal were invited to the event and ashamed to print the truth, so go ahead and write so we end this! Hate indirect threatz.”