Reitumetse Wa Dimmata

Reitumetse Wa Dimmata: A Woman All About Her Community

It was Kenyan Human Right Defender Ruth Mumbi who once said when you empower a woman, you empower the whole world. These words ring true when you hear the story of Reitumetse Molapo, who is popularly known as Reitumetse Wa Dimmata.

The latter speaks to the work Reitumetse does- ‘Wa Dimmata’ loosely translated means the one who deals with mats. The 32-year-old Reitumetse is social entrepreneur from Welkom, in the Free State. “I was employed, when we were told to go home and we would be called, I knew I had to create my own job, not only for me but Africa at large.”

Boss Lady: Reitumetse Wa Dimmata. Photo supplied

A few years ago, while on holiday in Tanzania with friends Reitumetse came across a woman doing tapestry and was taught the skill. “I was taught for four days but I came home to polish my skills on my own for about a month,” she tells Spotong.

I didn’t end there, her female instincts kicked-in and she wanted to share her new-found skill with others in her community. “I started training people a few months after I had learned but my breakthrough came during the lockdown period when people lost their jobs, that was when a lot of people came for trainings.” she says. Reitumetse had about 35 people from various places in her first attempt at teaching them how make carpets.

AT WORK: Reitumetse Wa Dimmata with some of her students. Photo supplied

The Covid19 pandemic destroyed the livelihoods of many, but those living in the township below the poverty line and are dependent on social grants were the most affected and are her biggest students. “Yes, that’s where you find a lot of unemployment,” she says.

“I am currently on 3,746 people trained so far and more to come,” says the determined businesswoman. “I travel to people who are a minimum of 10. I just travel anywhere as long as they meet my minimum number.” Reitumetse charges for her classes which take a few days. “I conduct my trainings for two days and in the two days one is taught how to design, make and carve mats.”

Speaking about some of her challenges of the business she says, “I come across impatient people sometimes and others who are allergic to wool.”

Class In Session: Reitumetse Wa Dimmata’s students. Photo supplied

Reitumetse says her students aren’t the same, as she come across a variety of people willing to learn. “I have both old and young people and both females and males. People are tired of sitting at home and doing nothing about their lives.”

Several of her students have gone on to start their own business of selling the carpets. “They get to choose on what they want to do with their knowledge. I have recently added an optional package that helps them register their newly formed businesses.”

Reitumetse’s currently waiting for her accreditation to open a college where she can formally teach her growing number of students. “I hope to have opened a factory big enough to supply both local and international markets.”