The art of leather crafting

The art of leather crafting

Own Correspondent

MASERU

TUMANE Thabane, who graduated from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) with a major in Statistics, is pioneering the art of leather crafting from several fronts—and he is savoring every moment of it.

His creations are unique, durable and breathtaking.

His skill, combined with exquisite brilliance of nature that gave birth to leather, coalesce and ultimately precipitate to form unbeatable shade in fashion.

Handmade to perfection, his inimitable designs leave customers mesmerised and feeling closer to nature.

He crafts leather marvels ranging from normal bags, clutch bags and belts and the result is a mass of crafts permeated by intuitive elegance.

If the words by Bill Bernbach be true, “Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula,” thenThabane is all too happy to break the rules and shatter the boundaries in his passion for art and crafts, or a combination of them thereof.

Thabane’s infatuation with leather was never a planned occurrence. They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So Thabane was intent on avoiding an idle mind after finishing his first degree.

“I was desperate to engage myself and limit idleness after graduating,” he says.

“So I visited my friend MoeketsiRamahlosi who happened to have studied leather crafting at Thaba-Tseka Technical Institute (TTI). He made leather sandals and I helped him. We would sometimes split the job. In due course, I fell in love with leather crafting.”

In his repertoire of colors, tints and hues, he chooses either the trending or the classical, all to suit specific designs. In his words, “other people’s designs fade away or lose value as time goes on while my crafts gain more value with time, just like wine.”

He may be just about right. Men of wisdom of old have long acknowledged that things of value, be it in music, art or sports, are timeless, in fact, mature rather than degrade with time.

To sustain and grow his business, he taps into the wisdom of first understanding what people want, then coming out of the closet, to provide just that – what they want.

“As for business,” he reveals, “I do a lot of research on what people need, then I do good items or products that will sell themselves.”

If no one lights a lamp and then puts it under a table, he has been doing a lot of advertising on many platforms. His products are a regular feature on Facebook, television and in newspapers; TV Lesotho, and radios; Lesedi FM, Ultimate Radio and Voice of God FM. He also attends a lot of flea markets in Lesotho and abroad, especially in South Africa and he was recently in China.

Yet he is careful that he doesn’t find customers for his products, rather, he finds products for his customers.

Thabane also knows all too well the power of giving. Giving, they say, breeds one of the greatest paradoxes in history. For it is “they that giveth, not they that taketh,” who seem to be rewarded with more.

“I teach people leather crafting very cheaply,” he says, adding: “I also developed an initiative to help alleviate poverty among the vulnerable and the orphans, so I am teaching one orphan boy leather crafting freely.”

He goes on to lay down his vision of the leather crafts industry in Lesotho.

While he believes that financial backing is important, “what we need most is a platform. Government officials need to buy our products so they be our ambassadors when they go abroad to show the world what we can offer,” he says.

“We also need more schooling to polish our skills.”

He also has a short message for Basotho: “We would appreciate more if our people could be kind enough to support us, more than they support designers from abroad.”

That is not all, as he has a note of thanks to the NUL, “My studying at NUL has given me good understanding of different people, a must in business success. I have made more networks there, and most people that were my peers do work and are able to buy my products.”

With his skills and passion, Thabane comfortably joins “The Innovators of the Kingdom in the Sky.”

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