Telling Colourful African Story Through Fashion

By Theodorah Mawasha 
KHETHAKONI VILLAGE-The fashion industry is growing rapidly and revolutionizing with most people opting for African traditional wear and design instead of the modern European look.
Motlatso Moketla, who hails from Khethakoni Village, in Ga-Modjadji, under Greater Letaba Municipality,  is a self-taught seamstress. Tlatsi, as she is popularly known is the owner and founder of Tlatsi Bespoke African wear that designs African traditional trademarks and clothing.
The 43-year-old studied a one year diploma with Damelin Business College. Tlatsi is a force to be reckoned with and has set a good example for young girls in her neighborhood. “My first encounter with a sewing machine was when I went to stay with my uncle at a farm in Tzaneen. My cousin’s wife would come back home after a long day of work at the farm and start sewing. I watched her and I loved her work and dedication .I fell in love with sewing then and there.” She explained.
According to Tlatsi, she had a talk with her mother where she explained to her regarding persuing a career in sewing, unfortunately, they had financial implications. “My mother as a caring parent approached a local seamstress whom she asked to teach me how to sew at a small fee for a month. That is how Tlatsi besboke was born” she added. She further mentioned that she was offered a secretarial job while still learning how to sew and had to stop  because the work was too demanding and time consuming. According to Tlatsi, she fell ill on the nineth year of working for the company. Due to ill health which eventually resulted in her loosing her hearing she was relieved of her duties “Due to my health I was laid off work and I started spending more time on sewing. I struggled for a while because I didn’t have a sewing machine and I had no money for a new one. I was lucky to get an old one which my cousin borrowed me and I have never looked back” She continued.
Tlatsi’s work is advertised on social media platforms but because of her hearing problem that affects her communication with clients she brought in her children and siblings who have been a great help and support system. “I can’t take telephone calls and that is a challenge. I am lucky to have a family and community that supports what I do. The demand is huge and we deliver to those who are far using courier services. I wish to get funding so that I can expand and venture into designing all kinds of traditional attire for different nations.” She concluded.
Tlatsi said that her personal mantra is “start where you are regardless of circumstances. Believe in yourself and success will follow you “.
Her work is showcased on her Facebook page Tlatsi besboke African wear, on Instagram :Motlatsomoketla3355 or alternatively contact her on Email contact numbers are 0603091600/0609076458

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