Hailing from Maseru in Lesotho is Mpotseng Lebentlele, founder of MmaKamo Jewellery, one of the best jewellery makers in Johannesburg. Lebentlele came to South Africa in 1996 after completing matric in order to study marketing in Cape Town.

Mpotseng Lebentlele, founder of MmaKamo.

After completing her studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, she worked for an advertising agency for three years before moving to the City of Gold, where her jewellery-making business took off.

MmaKamo neck-piece. 

“When I was studying marketing, I used to be a tenant at Zelma Smith’s house. She used to make jewellery. On Saturdays, she and her three daughters would go shopping for beads, and I would always tag along.

“When I moved to my own space, I didn’t have anything interesting to do on Saturdays because I was used to watching Smith do jewellery, and that’s when I started doing it myself. And the rest is history,” says Lebentlele.

MmaKamo baobab earrings. 

She describes jewellery not just as a piece of accessory, but something to define one’s style, character and personality.

“I have a very big personality. I’m usually wearing big, chunky pieces, and I think the minute you see someone with jewellery, you can tell more about their personality and style,” she says.

MmaKamo Jewellery was formed in 2009, inspired by her son, Kamo.

Silver neck-piece by MmaKamo Jewellery created by the founder of MmaKamo Jewellery, Mpotseng Lebentlele.

“My child’s name is Kamo, and I had him in 2009. I started my company around that time, and I was excited about being a young funky mom. I wanted a name for my brand, but couldn’t think of anything and, being a proud mom, I decided MmaKamo would do,” she says.

As with any other business owner, Lebentlele had many challenges when she started her brand, but she quickly found a way to tackle them. She would have people placing orders and give her hardship when it was time to pay until she decided “if you can’t afford it, you’re not taking it”.

Today, she runs one of the most successful businesses, not only making jewellery but also as an interior decorator.

MmaKamo tassel earrings.  

“The MmaKamo brand has grown drastically. My friend Relo, who’s part of Skwatta Kamp, once came to me and asked for some earrings. I gave her the gold ones which are waist-length, and she wore them when performing at Live Amp. People saw them and started ordering, and that’s how it blew up.

“Personally, I don’t want to open a website. I think I’m doing very well with social media because I have followers from New York, Cape Town, Durban, Lesotho, basically all over the world who buy my stuff,” Lebentlele says.

She wants to have a walk-in store for both her businesses, MmaKamo Jewellery and MmaKamo Interiors.

MmaKamo earrings. 

“In January next year, I want to open MmaKamo, a store where there’s going to be stuff for interior decorating, as well as a cute corner for jewellery,” she says.

It doesn’t end there. Lebentlele also has plans for a cosmetic range, but that’s something she’s willing to start in five years’ time. For now, she just wants to focus on opening the store and flourishing. Stay connected with Lebentlele via social media: MmaKamo Jewellery on Facebook, @mpotseng_bentley on Instagram and @MpotsengBentley on Twitter.