By Kefiloe Kajane
Three sisters with a love for craft and the uniqueness of Lesotho have decided to start a company commissioning and selling woven Basotho hats.
Ntoli Moletsane, Mamotṧeoa Moletsane and ‘Mampho Ralekuku say their love for woven Basotho hats led them to first open a social media page where they posted different woven hats they found anywhere.
With the support they received on their social media page and people asking them about the woven hats they posted, they knew they saw an opportunity to give people what they wanted, and the grabbed it with both hands.
In an interview with theReporter, Ntoli said they do not weave the hats themselves but they have people who live in the rural areas whom they work with as their partners who do the actual weaving.
She said these people some are shepherds, housewives and men who are just trying to provide for their families.
“We went out to meet these people so we can have a mutually beneficial business relationship with them. They already have their own designs but sometimes we also come up with designs requested by customers.
“Our main aim is to expose the talent of our people to it becomes known and appreciated all over the world. It was very hard at first, to convince them into this partnership. They thought their hats do not have a market as they only produced them as a pastime, with a view to wearing them themselves.
“However, we were able to convince them that we wanted to find them a market; that’s how the partnership finally began.,” she said.
According to Ntoli, Basotho and many other people around the world love and appreciate the craft.
She said if it was not for the Covid-19 pandemic, their business would have been far buy now because people who are most interested in their products are abroad and courier services are a challenge.
“We are gratified to see we have created opportunities for the people who weave the hats, as most of them now are able to provide for their families.
“We now have four people who are our consistent suppliers, but we are always looking to find more to widen the net of beneficiaries. This journey has opened our eyes to the high level of creativity of Basotho. We do not discriminate against age as we want the style of our hats to represent everyone. We have a weaver who is as old as 60 years and the youngest being in her 20s,” she said.
Basotho Woven Hats can be found on their Facebook page, which is ‘Basotho woven hats’.