Pencil artiste gets recognition from Steve Harvey

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Senate Lerotholi

SOME are born great; some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. The famous quote by William Shakespeare probably rings true for pencil artist, Mphohlela Ralethoko.

Popularly known as Uncle Donze, the artist recently hogged the limelight on social media when he posted a drawing of United States comedian, television producer, actor and writer, Steve Harvey.

The drawing was posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and what initially seemed like a futile attempt to attract the global star’s attention ended up paying dividends.

This after the Harvey then responded to Uncle Donze’s Instagram story.

“Hi. My name is Mphohlela from Lesotho. This is my latest drawing of @IamSteveHarvey. Pleased retweet until he sees it,” he posted on Twitter.

The post was then replicated on other social media platforms and Harvey eventually responded after some of his 8, 4 million Instagram followers reposted it.

Although Harvey did not say much, he liked the Instagram story and responded with a flexed biceps emoji, which often refers to strength and power. On the post of the drawing, he responded with an emoji of folded hands.

After that, the 20-year-old told the Weekender that he was excited about the recognition.

“I am happy that I got the recognition that I was looking for,” Uncle Donze said.

And while he has not realised any monetary from the recognition, he said he was happy that it had gained him lots of social media followers.

The Lerotholi Polytechnic Architectural Studies student said he started drawing at the age of four. At the time he would draw cartoons getting inspiration from his older brother.

He however, lost interest along the way before he resumed drawing in high school after encouragement from his friend, Ketumile Matsoso.

He has been doing commissioned drawings since 2019, selling them for M150.

But last year, he then started focusing on celebrities who visited Lesotho and has drawn images of artistes like MrJazziQ, Lamiez, Pasi Koetle, Kabza, DJ Maphorisa, Lady Du, Makhadzi, Blxckie and Cassper Nyovest.

He has also drawn an image of business tycoon, Sam Matekane.

“I have now ventured into the professional art world after learning big, famous artists like Jono, Dry, Arinze and Kelvin Okafor. I gained motivation from their success and decided to follow the same path,” Mphohlela said.

But getting recognition from Steve Harvey remains one of the greatest highlights of his artistic life.

While he accedes that he has now had his fair share of fame, he is still struggling to get Basotho to appreciate art.

“The challenges I have encountered include having to import art equipment which is expensive and is unavailable in Lesotho. Another issue is that Basotho lack understanding of the value art and they want to pay paltry prices for art pieces.”

But he said he was hopeful that one day, this would change.

“I hope to have my own world class art gallery and studio, travel the world through art and motivate other people to seek a career out of it,” Uncle Donze said.

He was born with the talented but not great. It is unlikely that anyone will thrust greatness upon him but perhaps, just perchance, he will achieve greatness one day.

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