By Thandiwe Kubere

MASERU – Rejoicing for the youth day this year, supported by the United Nations Development Program, some of the youth in Lesotho indicated their exhaustion for long crying at the hands of unemployment. They did this by coming up with, and displaying their different innovative ideas, creative skills and unique products.

Those from different entrepreneurship fields displayed their businesses, as well as services they offered on stalls at Manthabiseng convention center, further igniting hope that in a few years to come, the high rate of unemployment will be, but a tale of the past in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Rotating around different stalls, there was a discovery that most of the products were made from recycled material and some handmade, further advocating for green skills for a clean economy. Informative Newspaper therefore set out to find out how such innovative business ideas and skills were brought up. Amongst them were the following.


SUTHA was founded by Lieketseng Sutha, who is a creative based in Maseru. She explained that the brand name was inspired by how most people refer to her; Sutha. She does Macrame, a versatile craft but she explained that her focus is currently on wear (bags, jewelry and bra-lettes). Macrame is a crafting technique made by knotting threads or cords in a geometrical pattern to produce various decorative items including textiles. In simple words, it is the art of tying decorative knots with hands. She customizes clothes and shoes as well.

“I came across Macrame this one time I was scrolling on Facebook, got intrigued then I did my research and learned how to properly do it. This was mid-2020. I made my first bag later that year and then posted it”, she said. Shortly after, she was receiving orders from people who wanted to buy her bags. She explained she paused for a while due to struggling to acquire material and moving out of town.

She explained her business resurfaced in 2022 when she met Lauren, a lady who loved a bag she was making and asked if she could make her bags. Lauren later introduced her to an aunt, who contributed in getting Sutha the material she needed to make more bags. She improved her skill and that is when she got recognition. She further had her first exhibition at the pioneer Christmas market in 2022, which was a learning curve in terms of finding out what people like and where she needed to improve. From there, she has been showcasing and selling bags and other pieces at different markets and events. She also uses different social media platforms for advertising and posting content to attain more reach.

“I honestly think the creative or art industry is quite challenging in our country especially for the underdogs. For the youth wanting to venture in business, whether arts and craft or any other business. When you’re ready, the universe aligns things for you. Events like these, help us with exposure, networking, making potential collaborations with each other and learning the market too”, expressed Sutha.

Maula Designs

Maula Designs is a year old fashion and design business founded by Lipalesa Qacha. The business is located at Hleoheng, Maputsoe Leribe and specializes in 90% ladies wear and accessories, as well as 10% men and children designs. Qacha explained that the business was started purely out of passion for sewing and designing, as well as an interest in issues of environmental matters.

While pursuing her BSc in Chemistry and Physical Geography, she deliberated she had a huge interest in Climate Change and Environmental topics. “I witnessed tons of waste material from different industries being dumped at the landfill near my village known as Mokota-Koti. The landfill is a few meters away from Mohokare River, ten steps away from the school buildings and a 2 minutes’ walk from the residential area”, she said.

Looking at its impacts, she then had an idea and the urge to contribute to the reduction of the ongoing pollution, especially from the Clothing and Textile Industry. Hence she created multi-fabric clothes, decors for dresses, hats, bracelets and more. All manufactured from solid waste I found useful at the landfill. She used her mother’s old singer flat machine to make the first products. The proceeds were then used to get more equipment. “I was also on an internship, so I would save up the stipend and get affordable equipment.”

Moreover, realizing how much climate change brought a huge seasonal change and unstable weather, she aspired to make clothes fitting for the summer season, including; dresses with bare backs, short sleeves, or crop tops, in peace without worrying that the weather may change. She is also venturing into producing designs specifically for people with disabilities since they sometimes find it difficult to find clothes that suit their style and are accommodative of their different conditions.

“We use quality material, rare fabric, innovative decors and customized fabric. Starting a business like this is not as hard when you are passionate and creative. But being into business and running it was hard because I had no business skills. So I had to take courses online to acquire the necessary skills to run a business, the programmes have been very helpful. She explained the business is not only limited to making products out of recycled material but uses other types of fabrics as well.

“My advice to my peers is that it is okay to feel a little depressed about unemployment, but since birth you have learned a lot you can monetize. You may have an idea that may solve my problems, be brave enough to put it out here even if you have zero support. Also go out there and network with everyone every chance you get”, said Qacha.

She believes the event held at Manthabiseng convention center for mentoring youth in entrepreneurship will hopefully enable youth enterprises to meet their future supporting partners for ideas and improvement of the existing products. It will also assist in collaborating with other entrepreneurs who produce products that compliments other products, Investors, and help find a way forward on how the youth can build a sustained economy with or without external help.

The Artful Refiloe

The business, name descriptive as it is, was founded by Refiloe Letsie, born and raised in Qacha’snek but currently residing in Mafeteng. Refiloe is a self-taught interior designer, who does, but not limited to; wall decors, flower vases, laundry baskets and more. She explained that all her products are hands made.

“I started having this business idea in 2019 and I did my research about it online, including on YouTube. At the time, I only managed to do a pen holder with cubeb sticks and recycled empty toilet paper rolls. I also made a jewelry box with a recycled cardboards and those cubeb sticks”, she said.

 She enlightened that she furthered her study of the art and crafts with intense research. She then later started making wall decors and realized people actually love them. “I can confidently say my research brought me to this far and I am always learning new ways of making products which captivate people’s attention. I have now also advanced to making laundry baskets using a four-legged plastic chair and ropes.”

Refiloe discovered she is the only person so far who hand-makes baskets and she feels there is not much of competition. However, she declared she still encounters different challenges just as other businesses do.

“It is really not easy to venture into a business like this. This is because the material I use are quite difficult to find, more especially in our country. It also becomes a barrier because I cannot really work in my living space since the material I use is sometimes recycled, and may somehow cause danger should it mistakenly mix with the wrong things in the house.” Explaining how this frustrates her, she emphasized it is therefore necessary, and would be helpful to get a workshop for working, which is rather difficult to get for a person who does not yet have the financial muscle to do so.

Her advice to the unemployed youth is to limit their time and money on social media and start conducting research on important and impactful things, like finding products which are recyclable, on which they can creatively transform to useful new product.

She further deliberated that such events which educate, mentor and equip youth with relevant skills for venturing into sustainable businesses are really helpful as they assisted her with collaborating with other entrepreneurs who are in the same industry and have shared ideas on how to best improve their businesses.  This also helped her in introducing herself to the nation and to also gain more buyers.

Working an eight-five job, she achieved this by sacrificing all her pleasure resources and would only cover her most basic needs. She stated she used part of her salary to fund the business. However, since her business has not yet found the financial standing it needs, she only makes products based on the orders placed and further uses them for advertising.

Morena Thakholah Designs

The business was founded a couple of months ago by Katleho Ramolula. Ramolula, the enterprise is all about giving art to people and fostering the interest of art in those who do not know much about it. He does different kinds of unique artsy products such as lamps and their stands with recycled bicycle wheels. He uses some of the skills he got from doing carpentry in school and makes his products with the similar passion he has for it.

Ramolula declared that while growing up, he enjoyed being alone and trying new innovative things, which contributed a lot in the type of business he now has. “As a child I would dismantle our home appliances just so I could check how they are connected and find ways of fixing them again. Like any other parents, my parents got livid at my mischief”, he chuckled at the memory.

He got motivated to start a business after realizing that there was nothing to do after completing school.  He therefore associated with experts and people who had long been in the industry to find ways of successfully putting his ideas into practice and how to best find his suitable market. “Again, with everything I do, I go on my knees and seek guidance from God. So I believe he has my back and will keep my business standing. The type of business I run is different from others because nobody has ever thought of this kind of art before” he said.

He declared the business was not as difficult to conduct because so far he has not met major challenges. “What I can say to the youth is, if God has given us hands to touch or make, and a mind/brain to think, nothing can stand in the way of bettering our lives. A person has to make use of his hands to survive. I also hope the event will motivate the youth to have an interest and be aware that there is so much they can achieve by wisely using their hands. We saw many projects and products that were handcrafted by our fellow youth in Lesotho and it was inspirational.

Mohlakeng mystikal arts and crafts

Mohlakeng mystikal arts and crafts is a reed based craft manufacturing focused on reed furniture and home decors. It was established in 2017, coming after what was initially called craft cooperation. The founder, Nkoyi Nthethi deliberated that Mohlakeng was founded with the experience which was gained from the cooperation.

“We produce almost all household furniture ranging from kitchen wear, bedroom, bedroom balcony designs and outdoor furniture. We also produce and install ceilings, gazebos and portioning walls in offices, as well as guest houses and any other business spaces.” He explained people could also get their handy products where they are based in pioneer as well as their social media platforms.

His advice to the youth of this country is that they must look in all directions for development. They should use whatever their environment provides while they pursue their dreams and aspirations. And most importantly they must pay close attention culture for it is the source of foundation for civilization.

He believes events where young people are trained, mentored and equipped with relevant skills are very necessary to have all around the year. This is because two or three occasions will not be as live-changing and impactful.

With a changed mentality, there is so much that can be achieved. Some things are not done through rocket science. It is just a matter of finding oneself and figuring out what it is they do best so that they can excel.