LOCAL tapestry expert, Reitumetse Molapo, is on a nationwide drive to develop the crafts skill to equip locals with means to earn a living in a cheap way.
She held a two-day workshop in Ha-Thamae in Maseru last Saturday for different age groups. She had been invited by the Stadium Area legislator, Mokherane Chaltin Tsatsanyane, to develop the skill in his constituency.
She taught them how to make different forms and shapes of household mats from wool. She explained it as a cost-effective means of production which only requires the use of a crochet and wool whose cost was little.
Molapo also taught the participants that the design of each mat depended on the shape one draws on the base before sewing in the wool to add texture.
“I learned this in 2017 while I was visiting Tanzania,” she said.
“I saw street vendors sewing mats and other tapestry goods and I was charmed by the skill and immediately asked to be taught the skill. It is an easy skill to adapt and as soon as I returned from Tanzania the same year, I started teaching others.
“Although I started in 2017, my breakthrough was this year when I got recognition beyond the borders. I have various groups of people here at home and in South Africa whom I am working with like Phelane Projects and Bloem Shelter. These are organisations of vulnerable women and children in Bloemfontein.
“I came to Ha-Thamae through its legislator (Mokherane Tsatsanyane), who noticed my work through my social media posts. There are other people who have also requested lessons in other parts of the country and I am currently arranging to travel to Quthing soon.
“I am currently focusing on the mats because they are cheaper to make as they require wool and a crotch. The texture and thickness are determined by the type of wool used. The returns are high hence I believe it can be a profitable business for my fellow Basotho,” she said.
For his part, Tsatsanyane said that his mission was provide skills through which his constituency can earn a living and stop depending on handouts.
“I usually help the vulnerable people in this constituency through groceries and I have noticed that it becomes a problem when they run out.
“I then thought of ways in which they could sustain themselves and so far, we have five projects lined up. Tapestry is the first one. I met the lady through my brother and I fell in love with the skill and saw it as one that can sustain livelihoods,” Tsatsanyane said.