By: Nthati Moerane


On March 23rd 2024, Maru-A-Pula arts and modelling agency will hold a launch, fashion and auction show, which will be held at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru. The purpose is to showcase and promote different designs from different designers around the country, and amassing models who will grace the runway, showcasing the latest trends and designs.

Maru a pula is an agency, established to help Basotho youths openly share their talents, and help them make a good living with those talents. The said agency of models, artists, poets, musicians, and dancers hosts the fashion show as way of celebrating its 1 year anniversary since its establishment in March last year.

The agency invited designers around Lesotho, as a way of giving them an opportunity to explore and revive their talents as designers and also to gain experience and create a network of respective clientele.

Maru a pula arts and modelling agency general manager, Kananelo Hlehlethe (23), expressed that right after or during the show, showcased designs will be auctioned such that designers realize sales as soon as the day of their release.

She says, “since we are still in the celebration of 200 years as the Basotho nation, we saw this as an opportunity to celebrate the Basotho heritage and bring back what is called Boleswa, which is a combination of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland but, as an agency,”

The event will be graced by fashion industry stakeholders from Botswana and Swaziland. This includes designers and models, who will be showcasing original designs and also to see the handiwork of Basotho designers.

As for the sponsors, the fashion and auction show is sponsored by MCT entertainment and Kanu sound. The major challenge that the fashion industry faces is that of cultured preference for foreign apparel franchises – which exists owing to the weight of experience and time of existence in the fashion industry market, being international brands versus newly graduated Basotho entrepreneurs.

As agencies, they handle this challenge by hosting fashion shows, such that models display and showcase themselves to potential advertising agencies who may then identify and recruit them according to their merits and thus engage them to advertise their products as opposed to importing labour in the form of foreign models.

The agency also makes a plea to the government towards enforcing laws that protect local models’ economic rights. Also, they hope that as they invite people from other countries, local models have a chance of being chosen for international modelling. The fashion show will not be attended by just anyone, which is why the agency plans to provide invitation cards to relevant stake holders for the benefit of the event at large.

A Lesotho student designer, Nts’epase Makara, explains that as a designer; to cover for the extra work that comes with preparing for the fashion shows, she manages her time carefully such that both her studies and designs are attended to. She says while designing for fashion shows, she tends to look at the complexion and skin undertones of the models she will be working with, and chooses colours that best suit their skin tones.

“It also depends on the designs,” she adds. For something bold and extravagant, she chooses bold colours and for softer looks she uses softer colors. She aspires to design for the country’s elites as well as the minority.

“I want my designs to reach the world market and have my brand on red carpets too,” she continues. As for the upcoming show, she says this time her collection does not include traditional designs, but rather they were inspired by nature.

One of the models Ketumile Peete, states the most challenging aspect of modelling to be unreliable designers. For models, this means idleness for models whose designers do not follow through for.  Beyond that, she highlights that there are no payments catered for models, “this is still an issue because agencies expect us to showcase for them without payment yet they make more than enough money during fashion shows.”

This hits hard on them, as she concludes that, “it takes about one to two months to prepare for a fashion show that will not benefit us.”