11 May 2017
The local community of Hasimone, in the Leribe District of North East Lesotho, found sets of dinosaur footprints near their community and decided to create a cooperative in 2007 to encourage people to visit these prehistoric remains. The cooperative has around twelve members, mainly young people, who provide guided tours of the footprints and produce handicrafts to sell, such as moulds of the dinosaur footprints, jewellery and artwork.
They have built a rondavel, a small one room structure made of stone with grass thatching, which provides a central point for people visiting the site and is also where members can also display their handicrafts and hold their meetings. Any money they earn from the entrance fees is saved and reinvested in the cooperative. However, they are able to generate a small, personal income by selling their handicrafts through the cooperative. Although they only earn a small amount money in this way (about 4,7 euros per week), this nevertheless helps to cover their basic needs such as food and the purchase of further supplies to make more handicrafts.
This story is from the book by Sally Hartley, “A New Space for a New Generation: The Rise of Co-operatives Amongst Young People in Africa”, published by The Co-operative College in 2011.