Modern-day hero Election Lethiba, a self-taught carpenter, decided to use his skills to ensure learners at his local school had proper furniture.
Lethiba, 25, repaired 135 school desks in three days for Fetakgomo High School in Mohlaletse, Limpopo.
His journey started in 2018 when he was working at his hair salon and realised there was a demand for carpentry in his community.
“In my salon I overheard a conversation that made me realise there was a demand for carpenters. I had a few friends around the neighbourhood who owned carpentry machines that could be of assistance, I asked them to lend me their equipment,” he said.
The self-taught carpenter said he had to work to improve his skill.
“It was not a God-given gift, I had to work hard and practise. As I got better, I started saving the money I was receiving from my salon to purchase proper material to work efficiently,” he said.
Lethiba then started a company that designs and builds event furniture. He was approached by the school to repair their old and damaged furniture because they did not have money to buy new furniture. The school could only afford to pay for material and a small portion of the labour. Despite this, he still took on the job.
Fetakgomo High School principal Ramphelane Sekwati said the rural school couldn’t afford new furniture, but he was pleasantly surprised by Lethiba’s work.
“The school can’t afford to buy new chairs and desks because they are very expensive and we don’t have enough money available to cover all our necessities.
“Lethiba was recommended to us by the locals, as we are urged to support local businesses. We chose him because we were impressed by his work and he did it in record time,” said Sekwati.
Lethiba said: “I understand that the school can’t afford to pay me my worth but I needed to help them.”
He was born and raised in a small cultural village, Mohlaletsi, in Limpopo where he attended Lerajane Primary School and later went to Phutakwe Secondary School.
He knew that he was good with his hands from a young age, and he said that he had always had an interest in furniture.
“I liked Joshua Doore (furniture shop) ads but I never in my life thought that * could be able to achieve this dream,” he said.
Lethiba was raised by his mother and father, and has a brother who studied information technology and works at Ekurhuleni municipality.
He confessed that he was always the creative one.
“I’ve always been good with my hands, which is why I’ve started my company, so that other people who are not academic can get a chance to better themselves.
“My brother works in an office somewhere in Gauteng and that was his path,” he said.
The ambitious young entrepreneur plans on focusing more on his business and possibly expanding.