Blanket making turns Masike’s fortunes around



MASERU – Motivated by the rich history of the Basotho culture, Masikane Masike has turned his fortunes around in blanket making. He has made a name for himself as one of the young Basotho designers recognised by Aranda Textile Mills. Masikane is a self-taught Mosotho designer, who is among the six selected young Basotho designers. He designed Selekoe and Mokorotlo blankets as part of the young Basotho heritage blanket designer initiative.

The other young Basotho designers are: Ntate Stunna who is musician and cinematographer, who designed the Ntate Stunna Accordion; Material Don Dada (Tshepo Pitso), who designed Lerato la Basotho, Lipere tsa Basotho, Lithota; Alice Bereng, who designed Letšeng Diaspora Diamond and Diaspora Maize; Khosi Leteba who designed Bodulo and Mokete Mohapi designed Majaba-jaba. Masike, who also works on carpets and fabric cloths full-time, is an accomplished designer from a humble beginning with deep spiritual beliefs in the higher power and ancestors.

“I feel content to be part of the young Basotho designers; it shows that people respect and recognise our craft. The designs sold well during the market test and I believe now since the market had kicked in they are going to sell well,” he said. The young Basotho designer’s collection is an initiative by Aranda Textile Mills aimed at empowering young designers of Basotho origin. This initiative provides a platform for them to showcase their blanket designs and tell Basotho tales through the medium of the blanket.

Aranda Marketing Manager, Palesa Tladi, said they facilitate the creative process where young and talented designers can contribute to the rich blanket wearing tradition that is embedded in the fabric of the Basotho culture. “In order to keep this tradition alive, Aranda recognises the need to enable authentic blanket designs by Basotho youth, for Basotho. All designers chosen for the initiative will earn a royalty for as long as the blankets sell,” she said. The objective is to have a structured development and growth of the collection so the initiative runs on a bi-annual cycle.

All designers who meet the required criteria are encouraged to submit their blanket designs to Aranda. Entries for the 2023/24 season will open in spring of this year, announcement and notifications to follow via their social media platforms and website. In order to keep the initiative authentic to Basotho culture, entries are open to Basotho designers only, who should be young Basotho less than 45 years of age, and it could be anyone with a professional or creative design background.

The official launch of the 2022/23 will take place on June 25 at the Pioneer Mall pavilion. Established in 1953, Aranda Textile Mills is the oldest blanket manufacturer in South Africa, it is one of the leading suppliers of both décor blankets and throws. Their range of high quality blankets also includes traditional blankets for various southern African cultures as well as the iconic Basotho Heritage blankets.

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