Tsepiso Lesenyeho
painter, Lesotho


Tsepiso Lesenyeho was born in 1968. He is originally from Mazenod but now lives in Maseru. He began participating in art exhibitions in 1984, when he was 16. The materials he used at that time were very poor, as he wasn’t aware of high quality art supplies. He drew on the backside of cardboard soapboxes. His mother was a domestic worker for some teachers from Maseru Prep School and she was able, through these teachers, to connect Tsepiso with the school’s art exhibitions. He did very well, as all paintings were bought very quickly. Most of the other artists exhibiting were foreigners -- only 2 to 3 Lesotho artists participated.

His formal education did not progress well because he had a car accident in 1987, in which he had a brain fracture and broke his leg. But he still continued with his artwork even though there were rarely art exhibitions in Lesotho. He lost his wife in 2001 and he is now supporting his 13-year-old daughter alone.

Tsepiso began his artistic career with clay modelling as a child. In primary school, he began to draw, but with little instruction. There is little formal art education in Lesotho schools.

Due to this fact, and the fact that there are many young Basotho students with an interest in art, Tsepiso would like to open an art school to support artistic creativity and to share his skills.

In Lesotho, it is primarily foreigners who buy his work, as most Basotho do not have an interest in purchasing artwork. There is little awareness about the value of art. Tsepiso is interested in exhibiting outside of Lesotho to teach others about rural Basotho life.

He uses a variety of mediums to portray the life of Basotho in this small mountainous kingdom, including: watercolours, plaka, acrylic, charcoal, oil paints, and pencil and ink. He learned how to use watercolours by looking at other artists’ work. Although his paintings are incredibly life-like, he does not use photographs, but draws and paints from memory.


these pages submitted to africancraft.com by Siiri Morley,
Feb. 2006 -- last updated, Feb. 2006