I spent most of my afternoons in Sekamaneng, getting up to childish mischief with my brother. On occasion, we would steal glimpses of the female initiates at a neighbor’s house dancing. I remember being awe-struck, seeing them gather in a circle, wearing these intricately beaded veils.
The design of the Phetoho Rug is inspired by those veils, and the name is inspired by the change that the female initiates go through. But in a sense, this rug is an ode to my childhood."
Mookho Ntho and Moliehi Mafantiri
Barali is a sustainable homeware brand founded by Mookho Ntho, Creative Director and Moliehi Mafantiri, Operations Director, in Maseru, Lesotho. All products are made from either 100% mohair from Lesotho or blended with wool from South Africa.
As an upcoming visual artist Mookho Ntho specialises in surrealist paintings. Her early works explored themes of social activism, poaching and famine. But now, Key aspects of her work include fashion, and the use of bright colour to evoke emotions. A large part of her art is driven by the need to create visuals, which she did not see of black people in mainstream media, especially black African women, during her upbringing. She is represented by Undiscovered Canvas, a company that promotes African creative industries in Europe. Her motto is "Create with Intent".
Moliehi Mafantiri is an anthropologist in learning with a deep passion for anthropology, gender equity, and geography. As a young Africa woman, she was motivated to raise awareness about sexual harassment and assault. Thus, she considers one of her biggest achievements to be co-founding a campaign, TooTaboo, that addressed those social issues and sought to educate people on consent and sex.
TEAM: 2 founders + 30 artisans.
LOCATION: Maseru, Lesotho.
MATERIALS: Mohair carpets and throws.
TECHNIQUE: Handspun the mohair fibers into yarn, dye them, and weave them.
IMPACT: The founders produce their designed pieces with the local artisan businesses in Lesotho reviving traditional Basotho weaving techniques.
Barali works with the Leribe Craft Center in Hlotse, Lesotho.
The center counts 20 artisan women who hand-spin the mohair fibers into yarn, dye, and weave them.
The iconic Mpate and Phetoho rugs are produced with Maseru Tapestries and Mats in Maseru, Lesotho, where 10 Basotho women weavers the art of traditional tapestry weaving from mohair fibers.
WE WORK WITH
empowerment of local artisans
The empowerment of local artisans, reviving traditional Basotho craftsmanship, and using natural resources found in Lesotho are at the heart of Barali.