It has been said that art is showing other people what you see, taking the obvious and well known, and showing what is concealed. When I look at the vibrant and carefully woven kitenge, shuka, khanga or kikoy, I see more than a sarong. Sometimes I see bangles, other times I see bags, sandals and wedges.
Letu means “Ours” in kiswahili. Lelle was born to show the world our art, culture, potential and to tell the African story.
The main materials i work with are leather, because it gets better the older it gets, African fabric, because of the unlimited choice in pattern and color that it offers and soap stone because of how unique every piece is. I also love beads because the designs i can create from them are only limited by my imagination.
Beads carry another meaning at Letu
Our elaborate pieces are handmade by Masai women. Because such a minuscule percentage of Masai women have received formal education, Maasai women are as a group excluded from participating in decisions that impact their lives.They also face other challenges such as FGM and child marriages.
The community faces hunger during drought times, and women go without to feed their children. Their main avenue to earning money is by selling beads but women are often cheated out of profits by middlemen because, as they are not educated, they cannot protect their own interests.
Every cent of each beaded piece sold by Letu goes back to the community.
The purpose of these funds is to advocate for the rights of Maasai girls and impact communities for change from harmful cultural practices and embrace progressive culture.
Everything in my shop is handmade and can be customized, so feel free to suggest a design or size (for all items) and I will gladly create it for you.
Just as my name has meaning, I too will live my life with meaning. Don’t worry about what I am now, For what I will be, I am gradually becoming.