Tapestry is a skill that requires patience, passion and care.
Once carpetmaker Reitumetse Molapo fell in love with the skill, she knew it would form a large part of her life.
Molapo, who is originally from Lesotho but now lives in Odendaal in the Free State, told Vutivi News that she encountered tapestry while on holiday. At that time she was a teacher.
“I went to Tanzania in 2017 for leisure, and we came across a couple of women on the roadside who had kids on their backs and who were doing tapestry. They were weaving carpets, shoes and clothes and I asked them to teach me the skill of tapestry because they were weaving shoes and bells, but what caught my eye was (the) tapestry,” she said.
“I never thought that one can make a carpet by hand, and it just took them one day to teach me.”
Molapo soon started selling carpets, but because she was still working as a teacher, she had to split her time.
“I (decided) that if I quit my teaching post, I would be able to focus fully on the business, and when I did that, I did not have any regrets.”
When the lockdown started, Molapo thought it was time to share her skill with others so that they could earn a living.
“I started giving classes at an affordable fee, and the classes became really popular and that is how my business caught the attention of the public… A lot of people started approaching me, and I got more clients,” she said.
“When I started, I was in it for the money. But as I progressed deeper into it, I fell deeply in love. I fell in love with how, through tapestry, I change people’s lives and how I put my emotions into the carpets that I make.”
Molapo designs her carpets according to customers’ colour schemes, material and dimensions. It normally takes her about three days to finish a carpet, but it depends on its size.
She currently employs two people, but her dream is to eventually own a factory so that she can hire thousands of people.
Besides her classes, Molapo also hosts workshops across the country and elsewhere. The Lesotho government hired her to teach youngsters how to make carpets, and her next workshop is in Botswana.
She is also in discussions with Aranda Textiles, which is interested in sponsoring her.