Weaving Dreams into Careers and Business

Rethabile Lesenyeho's Inspiring Journey in the World of Arts and Entrepreneurship

February 12, 2024

In the heart of Lesotho, where tradition meets innovation, meet 34-year-old Rethabile Lesenyeho, who is not just embracing the "A" in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), but he's weaving dreams and passions into a vibrant tapestry of success. 

Ranked among the top 15 in the STEAM/Sebabatso initiative, Lesenyeho has seamlessly transitioned from being an entrepreneur to partnering with giants in the retail space, Woolworths, and being a part-time lecturer at the Lesotho Agricultural College in the Maseru district, where he imparts his wisdom in the art of weaving.

Lesenyeho's journey with the STEAM/Sebabatso initiative, aimed at fostering young entrepreneurs in Lesotho, has been transformative. What initially started as a venture to boost entrepreneurship skills turned into a revelation about his true passion for weaving. Reflecting on his experience, Lesenyeho shares, "I think more than anything, I have realized how many students have a passion for weaving and are great at it. It warms my heart. I want to see them grow, and I always tell them that, like me, one day they can make Arts their way of living and a career."

Through exposure from the STEAM/Sebabatso initiative, the young entrepreneur was discovered by Woolworths in Maseru, which saw his art taking center stage as one entered the various Woolworths stores in Maseru. Christmas goodies were not the same; they had a touch of authenticity, originality, and yes, that Lesotho feel. Lesenyeho’s artifacts were used as packages. This meant, you enjoy your goodies and have a nicely woven basket to reuse.

As if this was not enough, the young innovator has landed something big, and all this he attributes to the exposure and getting an opportunity to showcase and present his work in front of the private sector, civil society, academia, development partners, government ministries, and fellow youth, among others.

Inviting UNDP to witness his new role as a lecturer, Lesenyeho has quickly become a nurturing teacher, beloved by his students. He expresses his joy in seeing the genuine interest and eagerness among his students to delve into the world of arts. "I hope that through my skill-sharing, I can witness the art industry growing, with many young people making a livelihood out of it," Lesenyeho adds.

Hailing from the quaint village of Ha Bati, Saka-holo in Semonkong, Lesenyeho's passion for weaving traces back to his roots. Surrounded by the Merxmuellera macowanii (Moseha) grass used for weaving, his childhood played a pivotal role in nurturing this passion. Despite growing up viewing weaving as a mere hobby, the influx of interest from others made Lesenyeho reconsider its potential as a viable career option.

"Joining STEAM is what showed me that I am more than an artist but an entrepreneur as well. I will forever be grateful for the journey and what it did for me as an artist because I think it's safe to say that many of the things I am achieving now are through my experience in STEAM," he reflects.

Among Lesenyeho's students is Ikopeleng Raboro, who enthusiastically shares how weaving has altered her career perspective since she began. Initially skeptical about the craft, Raboro confesses, "When he first started teaching us, I thought it was the most difficult thing. But two days in, I was hooked. Now, I always look forward to the class, eager to learn more. I know for sure this is what I want to pursue when I graduate."

Raboro's story is a testament to the transformative power of arts education and mentorship. Lesenyeho's dedication to nurturing talent and fostering a love for weaving is paving the way for a thriving arts industry in Lesotho, where dreams are woven into vibrant careers, one thread at a time.