Tumane Thabane is a man whose leather products scream excellence right before him and rush into the homes and workplaces of people who admire their authenticity and unique quality.
Born in Maseru, Lesotho, Tumane hung around a friend who was a leather crafter, and watched him craft masterpieces.
“I fell in love with leather by chance. I had just completed my degree in statistics minor in demography with the National University of Lesotho and I had less to do. So I started to help my friend in his work just to keep myself busy. I ended up loving the crafting to an extent that I would buy leather then we would do sandals and share them equally. But after about two months, I was able to fashion leather into a pair of sandals on my own.”
Three months down the lane, Tumane’s friend got a job somewhere else and Tumane was left on his own, without any thing to do, unable to make leather products since his friend was the leading man.
“I had totally forgotten about leather-making. But it was in 2009 when I got hired as assistant statistician that I happened to take some material I had and did a leather belt copying from the one I bought way back in 2001. A colleague saw that belt and loved it – and bought it. And I then saw an opportunity and started producing more belts for sale.”
Soon, Tumane experimented with making a variety of leather products such as bags, sandals, bags, bracelets, earrings, clutch-bag, and bag packs.
He continued to craft amazing leather products while he was working in government, fashioning his products after work hours, on weekends and holidays. In 2015, he resigned from his work to assume the full-time job of a leather crafter, and registered a company which he called Haka Productions.
“I called my company ‘Haka’ because when I started out I used to work from home, and home means ‘haka’ in my language.”
Just like most art disciplines, his process needs one to be at peace of mind and work from a quiet atmosphere.
“It needs a calm atmosphere because it’s a very energy-consuming activity to do. But I find greater joy in satisfying my clients. When I say a bag is finished and the customer is happy with the piece I did, it gives me a fabulous feeling.”
So far, Tumane had enjoyed the highlights of being a leather crafter who had also set up business. He had showcased his products at various fairs in some African countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa and Lesotho.
“I sell my work via some boutiques in Joburg and Cape Town. I also sell them via social media, and I have some selling points and connections in flea markets in Lesotho.
Tumane’s heart is laden with the problems and challenges which youths are faced with in Lesotho – the most burning one being lack of employment. He feels that the private companies need to engage more youths to hire them and give them internships or assist them to start their own businesses and even buy their products.
“Our literacy rate is on an amazing vantage point. But still our youths – who are qualified with tertiary certificates, diplomas and degrees – are without employment. Therefore, I always remember youths and rope them in my company as interns and also train them in leather crafting at no cost. I have also trained people living with disability in leather crafting. I have been asking for funds to train SADC youths for Introductions in leather crafting!!!”
He loves the fact that SADC seems to be united, and at peace with one another.
“We speak more or less similar languages and in order to get to your neighbouring country all you need is a passport and not a visa. I also love my country – Lesotho is a Kingdom in the Sky, is where life began. We have freshest air in the world. We have cleanest water in the world. We even feed the whole of Joburg with our clean water.”
“I am inspired by peace, the idea of loving other people as oneself.”
Tumane is available on Facebook where he also exhibits his latest leather products
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