By Lintle Tsita
Maseru – The Lesotho Diamond Academy celebrated 24 graduates at Elibo Guest House on Friday June 23rd 2023. The school, which specializes in diamond cutting and polishing and rough diamond evaluation, was founded by the late (2021) Hon. Mpalipali Molefe in 2011.
It is now under the leadership of his children Thabo Molefe and Relebohile Molefe. Relebohile Molefe, now the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is a qualified diamond practitioner who advances her curriculum by providing in-mine training for LDA students.
Being the first Mosotho woman to own a diamond mining permit, she is also a licensed miner of diamonds in Lesotho. The school takes pride in recruiting its very graduates for employment following the completion of their courses at LDA.
Just before announcing the school’s decision and rewards to the 2 most hardworking students to sponsor their studies should they pursue successive qualifications offered at the school and, an automated 6 months in-service internship to one other student whose work stood out despite having had to carry the stigma of having been to juvenile prior to pursuing their studies at LDA.
Molefe emphasized the former juvenile member student’s transition owing to her expertise in economy and criminology, which resulted in the school close affiliation to the local juvenile center. In not so many words she advices her graduating cohort that, “there should be more of you in this industry, you need to help the government.”
This is reiterated by one student Letsielo Makara, who was part of the graduation cohort saying, “it is fulfilling to study at LDA because for a change we are studying material that is directly relevant and relatable to the vicinity within which we exist on a daily basis.”
This he said in reference to the representation that the diamond industry owns in terms of diamonds being one of Lesotho’s greatest natural occurring assets when presented on a global scale, “unlike the usual circumstances of studying perhaps of diseases that barely attack our country.”
Speaking on behalf of the parents present to celebrate their children, Ramasoala Malitsane briefly expressed his gratitude to the school founders, leaving stage time to a Mosotho woman diamond practitioner working in the Southern African’s diamond industry who proceeded to advice the students that, “when you get a dream never mind the naysayers, one day you will get your big break. Should you encounter any challenges know that you can always go back to the school you studied with and will always have the warmest welcome and assistance towards succeeding in your career goals,
“And one more thing, this industry is very dangerous and risky, so always make your dealings in safe spaces, public spaces but with minimal attention drawn to you. It is important to be careful and truly dedicated. Things are challenging as they are especially if you are young, black and a female. Beyond that, congratulations and go do your best.”
Off of a riverside conversation about a stone the late Molefe had found and sold to his then employer, keen interest in Lesotho’s diamonds birthed the school. While the private institution had stopped operations, it was then revamped by the Molefe children following a remembrance and passionate pursuit by their father concerning diamonds in Lesotho.