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Wild plants oil cosmetics business

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MASERU– THEY are wild plants many have dismissed as valueless. Yet for ’Mampho Tjabane, 48, the rosehip, known in Lesotho as ’morobei and the cactus, (torofeie) have provided the raw materials for a flourishing cosmetics business.

Tjabane says when she stated her business in 2014 all she looked for was something special and unique to separate her from her competitors.

She turned to two local plants that have often been dismissed as inconsequential. The plants grow abundantly in Lesotho.

Through careful study and experience, Tjabane says she realised that rosehip oil can have a soothing effect on human skin. And so she began experimenting and using the product to produce capsules for skin and hair improvement.

Tjabane also began mixing rosehip oil with other oils extracted from other indigenous plants to make tissue oil for stretch marks, blemishes, scars to improve skin moisture levels as well as reducing wrinkles and fine lines.

The rosehip oils have also been used to make lip balms.
She is also using extracts from cactus to produce body creams and glycerines.
Tjabane’s other products are made from aloe extracts.
All materials are harvested in Lesotho.

A website, livestrong.com, says rosehip oil offers several benefits when applied externally due to its primary constituents such as essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A.

It also has the anti-aging characteristics due to the antioxidants and the oil’s ability to penetrate into deeper layers of skin. The vitamin C antioxidants stimulate collagen production. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin A improves the skin’s moisture levels and reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
Livestrong.com says the Ultra Violet rays of the sun damage the skin and cause ageing. This results in wrinkles and discoloration.

However, the combination of properties in rosehip oil seems to combat the damage. The antioxidants and vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation.

About the cactus, which grows in arid regions, livelong.com says it is a source of fibre and contains 17 amino acids of which eight are essential.

The cactus helps improve the skin, hair and facial appearance, according to the website.
It was on the basis of this research that Tjabane launched her cosmetics company, Florratt Cosmetics, three years ago.

She says the company began operations from her home in Maseru East in 2014.
From such humble beginnings, the company has now grown and now has agents in all of Lesotho’s 10 districts as well as Botswana and South Africa.

Tjabane says the company wants to become a centre of excellence in the production of high quality natural cosmetic products that meet customers’ needs.

In its mission statement, the company says it seeks to create results-oriented natural and scientifically formulated cosmetic products that give the skin and hair a consistent colour, texture and hydration.

The company’s marketing strategy means that potential customers must register with Florratt Cosmetics so that they can sell to others in smaller packages.

Tjabane says the company is planning to rebrand its products to ensure they are sold in tubes. Despite carrying out an aggressive marketing campaign, Tjabane says she has sadly realised that Basotho are not too eager to support what is their own.

She thinks this is because “Basotho are not aware of the importance of local herbs”.
“We manufacture cosmetics with aloe herbal products from Lesotho, we use natural organic extracts to rejuvenate our customer’s skin,” she says.

An administration officer at Florratt Cosmetics, Lehloenya Naha, says the company had close to 3 000 distributors across the country.

“Our aim is to trend globally since our products are well known in Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana. We are aiming to satisfy our customers,” Naha says.“So far we have no competitors because we are selling our own products which are different from other products.”

He however adds that “the main challenge is that Basotho do not support or buy locally produced products”.

“We want to use pamphlets to market our products especially to foreigners or tourists,” he says, adding that they want “to show the world that Basotho can create their own products”.
“Our aim is to grow this business. We want to produce products that will satisfy our customers, we want our customers to have a reason to choose us amongst other products,” he says. Florratt Cosmetics currently has 14 permanent workers.

Senate Sekotlo

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Short courses for ex-mineworkers

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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

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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

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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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