Me Nkune – “An entrepreneurial Basotho woman who was assisted by Sani Lodge Backpackers to establish her own successful, sustainable eco-tourism business that proudly shares her culture.”
My name is Mamasheane Nkune. I was born in 1948 in Bobatsi, Lesotho. There were 12 children in my family. Both of my parents are still alive, with my father being 97 and my mother 93 years old My father farmed livestock, later becoming a successful businessman. I walked six kilometres daily to attend lower Primary school at Tsoanene , before becoming a boarder at Molumong higher Primary and later moved to St James Secondary school.
I married Ntate Thabiso who was a teacher and I worked as a volunteer teacher in a Primary school until I had my first child. Life became very difficult when Thabiso also retired from teaching and we had five children to raise. We sold vegetables and traditional beer for our income.
When Russell Suchet from Sani Lodge Backpackers set up Drakensberg Adventures tours in 2005 to No 10 Riverside , the name of our home, it changed Thabiso’s and my life and also that of our children. The income from providing accommodation and food to guests coming from Sani Lodge over the years has provided everything my family needed for daily life. After my husband died from diabetic complications, I continued running the business. It is enjoyable to share my culture with different people from foreign countries who come to stay in my home in the mountains of Lesotho. My life has been enriched and I thank Ntate Russell for teaching me to have the skills needed for sustainable tourism , offering a quality service to guests and helping to make No 10 Riverside the best place to experience authentic Basotho culture. Between 2005 and 2014, my business has earned over R850 000. This is a pioneering grass roots community tourism model.