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A woman dog breeder



MASERU – Matšeliso Mpuputla is going where few women dare venture: dog breeding.

Owner of Pretty Dog Centre, the 29-year-old from Ha-Matala, is so in love with dogs that she started her own canine business, in the process breaking the cultural barriers that view such ventures as a male domain.

Just this month, she bagged several awards. She was adjudged the best dog breeder in Lesotho at the Farmers Pitso Awards. Mpuputla also won four other awards at a dog show held at Sethaleng.

Pretty Dog Centre offers services for dogs such as grooming, washing, nails, potty training and it also sells jerseys, beds and dog’s cosmetics. The business also offers day care services and has a boarding school for dogs.

Mpuputla says she got her inspiration from her late father’s love for dogs, even though he died when she was still young.
“I have always loved dogs since my childhood. I would always feed and wash dogs on weekends, not realising how deep I was falling in love with the animals,” she said.

In 2019, she had her first dog called Nancy, a very “beautiful and humble” Maltese breed.

In those days, she said, few people owned pets and she knew one lady who owned a dog but could not take care of it.

“Because of the love I have for dogs, I hated seeing her dog in that condition and that’s when I thought of opening my centre. My love for money and luxurious life was the key driving force for me to become an entrepreneur so I had to wake up and do something with my life,” she said.

She added: “There are people who genuinely love dogs but cannot afford to take care of them or literally don’t have time so that’s where I fit in to help,” she said.
Mpuputla started her business last year.

“It has grown tremendously since its establishment. God’s will and the support I get from Basotho is just on another level,” Mpuputla said.

She said she invested about M10 000 that she had saved from selling cosmetics, clothes and other items.

A Diploma in Human Resource Management graduate from the Institute of Development Management (IDM), Mpuputla says her mission is to enrich the lives of pets and their families by providing excellent pet care, peace of mind, trust and security.

Growing up, she wanted to be an actress, which she followed but had to choose between her dream and family.

“When I imagined my life, the only way out was for me to relocate to South Africa and I could not do that because the thought of leaving my mother broke me so much that I had to take another direction.”

She says her mother is her role model.

“She is a hard worker. The way she handled our family after my father’s death made me want to push harder in everything I do. Her strength made me want to make it out there one day and shine.

I could not let her hard work and sacrifices go for nothing,” said Mpuputla.

She further said she has a strong support system from her mother and sister.

“I become emotional when I think about them as I have and continue to receive so much love from them. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family. If it was not for them, I would not be where I am today.”

Mpuputla said being a female breeder, makes her business unique as very few women want to deal with dogs. Also, having boarding school makes it even more unique.

“People don’t understand how a woman can passionately look after dogs day in and day out.”

However, she said being a woman and riding solo in the industry also comes with its own set of challenges.

“My gender has contributed a lot to the challenges I face as people, especially males tend to underestimate me when it comes to animals. But I always prove them wrong by delivering and giving it my all.”

She described herself as a good communicator and “very jolly”.

“This has helped me to entrench a culture of good customer care…it works wonders for my business,” said Mpuputla.

Mpuputla said she chose to be an entrepreneur because “I have what it takes to make good moves in business.”

Also, she loves making the rules.

“I cannot survive being employed. I am extremely content about my choice. It’s something I would do over and over again.”

She says competition helps her to push harder.

“Doing my own thing and what I love makes it easy for me so I really don’t have anything to stress about.”

She sees herself as the biggest dog breeder in the country in the next three years, even though being an entrepreneur is stressful as sometimes business is bad.

“When there is no business, the struggle is real as there would be no income. It is not an easy journey but it is worth it. It needs someone who is very passionate and focused,” said Mpuputla, who also owns Pretty Tours for road trips, vacations and cab services.

‘Mapule Motsopa

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Short courses for ex-mineworkers



THE Lesotho Diamond Academy has introduced mining short courses, particularly to ex-mineworkers, to help them re-enter the mining sector.
The Essential Introductory Courses, which will run for two weeks, will start from June this year. The courses are meant particularly for people who worked in mines in South Africa.

The Academy’s CEO, Relebohile Molefe, unveiled the new courses during the graduation of 18 students last week, four of whom are now armed with Cutting and Polishing certificates while 14 graduated with Rough Diamond Evaluation certificates.

The new courses include the Essential Certificate in Diamond Grading and the Essential Certificate in Diamond Evaluation.

“The decision to offer these courses aligns with the Academy’s dedication to bridge the gap and ensure that individuals with valuable experience can seamlessly reintegrate into the diamond and jewelry industry,” Molefe said.

“By providing short courses, the academy does not only impart essential skills but also contributes to the sector’s growth by reactivating experienced individuals who had lost access to the industry due to no formal documents showing their experience in the industry,’’ she said.

During the graduation celebration, Molefe also unveiled a new sponsorship programme for various courses.

One outstanding student previously sponsored, who demonstrated exceptional proficiency in Rough Diamond Evaluation, was granted a fully funded bursary to further his studies into Advanced Certificate in Round Diamond Brilliantering.

In pursuit of its multifaceted objectives, one of which is to serve as a catalyst for employers in the diamond and jewelry sector to devise skills development strategies, the Academy is set to sponsor four additional students in the upcoming intake starting from February 15.

Two of these bursaries will afford a 30 percent discount on overall fees for two students progressing from Cutting and Polishing to advanced studies in Rough Diamond Evaluation.

Two will be fully funded bursaries to study for a Certificate in Diamond Cutting and Polishing.

Additionally, the institution will extend two fully funded bursaries to the public, fostering inclusivity and expanding opportunities.

The Academy says it plans to announce the search for two deserving Basotho individuals on its social media pages and website.

“Importantly, the bursary programme bears no age restrictions, reflecting a commitment to fairness and inclusiveness, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all, irrespective of age,” it says in a statement.

The Academy says it seeks “to be a dynamic force in shaping the industry, not just within national borders, but also on regional and international platforms”.

“The emphasis on competitiveness within these markets underscores the institution’s commitment to producing graduates who are not only proficient but also globally competitive,” the statement reads.

“The recent graduation ceremony symbolises a milestone in the Academy’s journey. The success of its students is a testament to the quality of education and the foresight embedded in the curriculum.”

The Academy says its decision to sponsor further education for outstanding performers reflects a belief in nurturing talent and contributing to the continuous improvement of the diamond industry.

The Lesotho Diamond Academy was founded by the late Mpalipali Molefe, a prominent educator, diamond trader and an MP, who recognised the imperative to elevate professionalism in the diamond industry.

Staff Reporter

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Bank hands over uniforms to students



THE Lesotho Post Bank donated uniforms to students at Leqele High School worth a staggering M60 000 as part of its Back-To-School campaign.
The bank said it did this “to keep needy children in school and to promote their education”.

A teacher at the school, Tšepo Semethe, said the uniforms will likely motivate the students to work harder in their studies.

Semethe insisted on giving the bank the names of the students so that it could check their performance at the end of the year.

“At Leqele High School, we work very hard because what we want is excellence above all. To us, hard work pays,” he said.

The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Molefi Khama, said they are getting old, they will soon retire and Lesotho Post Bank will be in the hands of these children.

He pleaded with the students to work harder.

“This is why we decided to come here to support the students in their education so that when coming to school, they should be confident,” Khama said.

“We are watching you and waiting on you,” he said.

The school’s head prefect, Tholoana Monatsi, said from now on, “no student will be identified by what they wear”.

“(Lesotho) Post Bank made us one and we thank them for that because what we wear cannot stand before our education. We indeed thank you and forever you will hold special places in our hearts,” she said.

A parent, ’Marorisang Latela, said they were very grateful for the gift from Lesotho Post Bank adding that they must also donate to other schools.

Minister of Trade, Mokethi Shelile, promised to go back to the school to discuss how the children could learn in comfortable surroundings.

Relebohile Tšepe


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Mamello School of Special Needs wins prize



MAMELLO School of Special Needs is the first-place winner of Standard Lesotho Bank’s Scaled-Up Pitching Den held at Maseru Avani on Tuesday.
The school has secured a grand prize for an all-expenses-paid trip to Kenya to participate as a finalist representing Lesotho at the Standard Bank Africa Awards.

The school, pioneered in 2020 during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic through Zoom classes, deals with children who live with conditions such as autism, attachment disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) dyslexia, Down syndrome and slow learners.

STKTM Solutions claimed the second-place spot, receiving a commendable M10 000, while Masia Farms secured third place and a M5 000 prize.

Pheello Masia of Masia Farms, thanked Standard Lesotho Bank for backing their vision and that of other Basotho entrepreneurs.

He acknowledged that the bank’s faith in their endeavours serves as a source of inspiration, propelling them to work harder and foster growth within the community.

The event, aimed at fortifying support and fostering regional integration for Basotho entrepreneurs across the African continent, showcased the bank’s commitment to driving the growth of Lesotho.

Malatola Phothane, Head of Enterprise Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, set the tone in his welcoming remarks.

“As Standard Lesotho Bank, through business and commercial banking, we strive to turn possibilities into opportunities,” Phothane said.

“Lesotho is our home, and we drive her growth,” he said.

His words resonated with the bank’s dedication to nurturing local talent and fostering economic development.

Phothane acknowledged the eight finalists, commending them for their resilience and passion for their businesses.

He emphasised how each entrepreneur had stood their ground, displaying knowledge and unwavering commitment.

The recognition not only highlighted the achievements of the finalists but also underscored the bank’s role in recognising and uplifting the entrepreneurial spirit within the community.

Aliciah Motšoane, founder of Prestige Furnitures and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services, played a significant role at the event as a motivational speaker, sharing her entrepreneurial journey filled with challenges and triumphs.

She recounted her humble beginnings when she was selling bread in high school, leading to the establishment of Prestige Furnitures in 1998.

Despite facing a significant setback after her shop was burnt down during the riots and incurring a loss of M5 million, Motšoane never gave up.

She said business is always a demanding endeavour adding that it needs hard work and a unique mindset.

She urged entrepreneurs to embrace their roots, seek inspiration, and persevere through challenges.

The keynote speaker, the bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Clients, Keketso Makara, said the bank is committed to foster a thriving business environment, highlighting the pivotal role of youth collaboration across diverse economic sectors.

Makara said their mandate aims to empower youths in steering the private sector towards growth, contributing to economic diversification.

Makara urged the eight finalists to actively involve bankers in refining their proposals for maximum impact on economic stimulation and sustainable development.

The bank said the Scaled-Up Pitching Den not only served as a stage for entrepreneurs to present their ventures but also acted as a driving force for networking, collaboration, and collective empowerment.

Staff Reporter


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