IN LOCO FELLOWS 2020 BLOG SERIES #2: KE NGOANANA OA MOSOTHO
My name is Mosa Nkhabutlane, “kengoananaoamosotho”, (I am a Mosotho girl) who was born & bred in Lesotho. I studied Interior Architecture from the University of Pretoria and I am currently an in loco fellow at rise international. I applied for this program because I wanted to equip myself with an entrepreneurial career in the built environment and creative sphere in Lesotho.
Being part of the 2020 cohort, we are currently designing LNFOD (Lesotho National Federation of Organizations of the Disabled) offices which are going to be located in Naleli. With these offices, we hope to create a precedent for inclusive design in the country. It’s been a real joy to be learning about inclusive design on a practical level so early in my career. So often, we can allow our egos as designers to get in the way of the buildings and objects we are designing and in doing so, we neglect the people for whom we are actually designing and creating. rise has been really instrumental in guiding us as to how we can design in an inclusive manner.
Before we started designing the LNFOD Offices, we met with LNFOD Staff & the Naleli Community. We then hosted a Participatory Design Workshop with LNFOD, which allowed us to communicate with our client and to find out what they need. Instead of assuming their needs, we listened to them, we learnt about how they function as an organization and in doing so, our design has been informed by the needs of the user.
My experience at rise thus far, as an in loco fellow, has been one of growth and I hope it continues to be exactly that for the months that follow. We have just begun going to site and I believe that it is the “learning by doing” that is yet to mould us into holistic professionals.
In addition to architecture & design, I am also an entrepreneur at heart. I started a jewellery brand @madebymos in 2018. My brand has really allowed me to express myself, it is a baby of mine that allowed me to grow in a lot of different ways and to learn about the design business. It is through it that I learnt about creating campaigns, creative direction and the art of making. I have also learnt to respond to the needs of the customer and I am continuing to learn about managing the funds of a business. I believe that we need to equip ourselves as small businesses, in order to build sustainable businesses.
The business trainings that rise holds have been a great resource for me as an entrepreneur. We get to meet some of Lesotho’s greatest minds through these workshops and we are given the opportunity to learn from them. The opportunity to absorb knowledge from entrepreneurs who are making waves in this country is unmatched, especially because they are also born & bred in Lesotho. To be inspired by the people that look like us and have walked similar paths is a breath of fresh air. It feels like I am learning something new every day ever since I have been a part of the in loco fellowship. Some days are easy and mellow, some are challenging and new but most importantly, I continue to learn & to be equipped as a young, black female designer in the Mountain Kingdom.