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A cultural hub for Lesotho



ROMA – A Lesotho College of Education (LCE) graduate, Makhebe Seatlana, has developed a cultural modeling agency to promote the Basotho culture with modern flavour: Sotho Kids.

He says his agency is made of over 150 models so far, which is not only a space for cultural development, but a hub for development of talents he never thought possible.

“We have music artists, beauty queens, poets and dancers,” Seatlana said.

It has become evident to almost every Mosotho that their culture is being eroded at an alarming rate and if we don’t do anything about it now, sooner or later we will raise a generation of children who don’t know who they are.

Coming from a humble background at Mazenod where he attended the Mazenod Primary and High Schools and later LCE, his father was the breadwinner raising them with the little he got as a factory worker at Ha-Thetsane.

“Like many students, I couldn’t enjoy any Manpower stipend since I had to help my father. Life was hard,” he said.

Failure was not an option because that would be the end of his future.

After graduating at the LCE, he got hit really hard by the worst monster of our time –unemployment – and started job hunting.

He worked at the Thetsane factories, went to Mpumalanga to look for a job where the whole teacher jumped from welding to being a waiter and later coming back home to work at ‘lifato-fato’ (community cash/food for work projects for peasants).

“Life was hard,” he said with a deep sigh.

Tough times create tough people. A diamond is just a lump of coal that stuck to its job.

When he thought that was the end of it all, he applied for his career job and passed the interviews but failed to secure it. You know the politics.

He nearly went mad. What had he done wrong? In 2019, he started something with his sister.

“I don’t even know what I was doing,” he said.

“I only realised that our people are too focused on other peoples’ cultures and not proud of their own. I had to do something to bestow the rapidly eroding culture of Basotho.”

That’s when he coined the name “Sotho Kids.”

Was it for money? No! It was for passion and inner drive for the love of Lesotho.

“I wanted to do a Sesotho thing for Basotho of Lesotho for the 18-25-year-olds.”

He realised the suffix Sotho appearing in each of the words seSotho, BaSotho and LeSotho, hence the name Sotho Kids.

His idea turned out not to be just a cultural agency, but a hub for development of talents he never knew existed.

“We have artists, beauty queens, poets and dancers.”

At 27, he is a manager of one of the humblest and beloved artists of our time, Omali Themba and Mothula Tšepe, Crazy T and many others under the brand. You book them through him.

The young diamond had a vision to see his modeling agency grow to greater heights in three years, but to his surprise, within eight months of its inception, the brand had grown tremendously.

You probably might have seen them walk the aisles of Pioneer Mall and the streets of Maseru. What a beautiful scene!

He says the biggest problem of young people his age is lack of desire to work hard. They put money ahead of everything.

“When you work on building the brand you have to put money aside.”

That is why he volunteered at the big events like Moshoeshoe’s Day and the Bantu FC.

In the talent industry, we all don’t know our worth until someone recognises and rewards it.

“One day I got a call from Basotho Arts and Cultural Festival. They wanted to use my pictures to make advertisement posters at a M3 000 cost,” he said.

“I jumped high since it was a lot for me. Later on they called requesting a quotation for Sotho Kids to perform at their event.”

Seatlana sent a M5 000 worth of a quote. Guess what happened?

They said “that’s not your worth young man” and signed him a M50 000 cheque.

His models humbled him by agreeing not to get paid but to invest the money into cameras and equipment.

Sotho Kids has performed for Econet Scaftin, at the Opening Ceremony for Team Draw Region 5 Games and Umhlanga Reed Dance in Eswatini where they met with King Mswati III.

Seatlana believes he is achieving the biggest target he set for Sotho Kids, to see his models earn a salary.

He doesn’t want the same hunger that hit him to replicate itself.

His message to the youth is: “Use your brains. Work hard to achieve your dreams. Don’t put money ahead of everything.”

“Youth don’t support each other man. Collaborate, don’t compete.”

Own Correspondent

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