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A breath of fresh air!



ROMA – SO you were somehow disappointed with a lack of verity in Lesotho’s building materials?
And, being a patient person, you were waiting for a moment when you could turn your garden into a paradise and your home into a mansion?
The bricks in the form of cladding, building and paving stones by the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Innovation Hub are a breath of fresh air in a rather boring Lesotho’s building landscape.

Due to the manufacturing techniques used, these bricks are stronger, more artistic and rich in variety and colour.
The company under incubation at the NUL Innovation Hub is called Mafikeng.
“We have three applications for our bricks,” said ’Marethabile Jane, who along with Lesia Matlali and Setlhare Jane, are the prolific brains behind the project.
“And we plan to introduce more with time.”

The first application, which they are already making in significant quantities, is pavement.
Not that there is no paving already in Lesotho, there is.
But, make no mistake, Lesotho’s paving landscape will break your neck with its exceedingly boring monotony of bricks (everyone is making pavements of the same colours and shapes and texture).
“Our paving stones are different,” ’Marethabile said.
“Not only are we able to customise colour, we actually offer artistic pavements that will offer you a rare garden experience in your own home.”
Mafikeng is also exploring the area of building cladding bricks.

In this area, they are setting their eyes into competing with ceramic bricks and dimension stones.
But their stones come with unique features.
First, let’s make sure you understand what this is all about.
When you want to build a really nice house, you use two forms of bricks.
The first form of bricks is meant to give the house its strength.
In engineering, they say it is for “structural applications.”

These bricks may include your block bricks (litene tse putsoa) and your half-baked ceramic bricks (litene tsa mangopeng).
Since they are just meant to give the house its strength, they are worth hiding from public view (they are normally not the best-looking bricks in the world).
On the outside, most people put another layer of bricks.
Whereas these bricks can still provide strength (structural), their main purpose is to beautify your house.
That is why they have to be on the outside.
You cannot hide these ones.

If you use them on the outside, you call them face-bricks — although, you can still call them cladding, depending on how you apply them and their thickness.
On the inside, they are almost exclusively called cladding.
“These are the bricks we are making,” ’Marethabile said.
Believe us, they are not just making them, they are making the best of them possible.

If you make a choice to buy from these guys, then you are en-route to making your house stand out.
That is because nobody (except you of course) is even thinking about using these kinds of bricks to decorate their houses.
In the good old days, you would be thinking about natural stones and clay bricks to do this.
Despite their monotonous colours and pretty consistent designs, you would have to choose them because you had no choice.
Well, those were the good old days.

Now Mafikeng is here, with a catalogue of unlimited colours and hues, life could never be easier.
In the case of Mafikeng, the difference between face-bricks and cladding is in the form of colour.
For cladding, with an aim for interior decorations, the emphasis on colour gets deeper.
They can be pure white.
They can have marble features.
They can have all kinds of colours from pitch black to sky blue.
You have a choice.

Of course this line of bricks is not only the hardest to make, it is also the most glaringly beautiful.
Even if you pay a couple more dollars (Maloti), you cannot stop saying this in your own heart, “it was worth it.”
We are pretty sure there are dozens of people who have been putting off their home building projects because they were literally floored by lack of variety in Lesotho’s building materials choice.
We can already hear those folks breathing a sigh of relief and saying: “Thank goodness! But where have you guys been all these years?”
They were there, holed up in their laboratories at the NUL, cooking a couple of amazements for you.

Own Correspondent

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