Koetlisi makes toys for a living

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Sebolela Koetlisi

By Mateliso Phulane

Sebolela Koetlisi is a young Mosotho man who decided to stand out and try to beat idling and unemployment.

In an interview with theReporter he said makes different toys out of different types of steel wires, tins, glue, and discarded cloth remains which he gets from the nearby factories in Maputsoe. He makes moveable toys of different types of animals, insects, sports games and many more.

Koetlisi said his art work usually hooks the kid’s interest for a parent to end up purchasing even if they didn’t plan to do so.

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“The toys automatically move when the owner drives, performing different activities including boxing, push ups, traditional activities as well as moving skateboard, horse cart tortoise, butterfly, bird and others,” he said.

Due to unemployment rate and lack of funds to pursue his high school level he was inspired to start his small business.

“I used to struggle to get a job wherever I used to try my luck, which resulted from not having good educational qualifications since I didn’t complete my high school level as I wished to.

 “I only did Form A which I also couldn’t complete because my parents didn’t afford to pay my school fees. As a result, I didn’t deserve and qualify for any better job,” he emphasised.

Koetlisi was born at Ha Motṧoane but grew up in Maputsoe Leribe where he did his secondary level at Maputsoe English Medium School.

He further indicated that, the idea of starting his own bumped in his mind soon after he stopped going to school which was in 2014. However, he encountered so many challenges including lack of capital to kick start the enterprise.

“I had to stop with the business and found another job in Botswana which was mainly for welding, even though my passion of making toys couldn’t stop. The business did not have unwavering support like the one I get now in Lesotho,” Koetlisi added.

The 22 year-old said his love for crafting began at his young age because he used to make mirrors covered with box and created hats/

Speaking of the challenges, he explained that the materials he uses are too expensive to buy, leading to the production process to stop for a long time.

“I use different four types of wires which I get from the nearest hard wares, the main challenge is that they are too costly according to their size and shape. Some are thick and thinner meaning their prices also differ.

 “However to cut some costs, I normally ask the people who install barbed wires to keep the remaining for me and pay them less amount. I do the same with the clothes which I get from the factories,” Koetlisi said.

 According to him he spends about M650 to buy his material including wire, glue, clothes and makes about M1 500 each week. The toys are sold in different districts including in Leribe, Botha-Bothe and Maseru.

“What I like with this business is that it is not seasonal. It only needs someone to have enough material and be able make more products,” he observed.

Koetlisi said he is ready to teach anyone who is willing to learn about his work and gain knowledge to improve their skills and start their own businesses in order to meet their needs.

He also said in the next five years, he wants to extent his business in order to reach every corners of Lesotho, creating jobs for Basotho.

“My dream is to open a factory where I will manufacture more toys for the people to buy in bulks and also distribute them in other countries and that help Basotho to get jobs which will change their lives.  

For orders Koetlisis can be contacted on his mobile number: +266-59320936