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By Seleoe Nonyane
The popularity of tattoos has grown significantly over the years.
Back in the days when tattoos were taboo, local artist Katleho Maphakisa took a leap of faith and jumped into the tattoo business when he noticed that people actually fell in love with his art.
Maphakisa is a young man from Ha Seoli in Maseru; he is a self-taught tattoo artist and barber.
Like most youth in the country who struggle to go to university or secure a job, it was no exception for the tattoo artist.
In an interview with this publication this week, Maphakisa said he had to use his talent to make a living after completing his LGCSE and struggling to obtain sponsorship to get into university.
He recalled the epoch moment that took place in 2017 while he was still in high school. He stumbled upon some of his friends making tattoos using a motorised device.
Maphakisa himself was not too keen on tattoos because at the time they were associated with gangsterism and wayward behaviour.
However, when he noticed how crude and horrible his friend’s tattoos looked, he decided to put his drawing skills to good use to save the day and make them look better.
“After that, people started coming to me for tattoos and, like they say, the rest is history. People kept flocking in and that is how I saw an opportunity to cash in and become a full-time tattoo artist.
“This actually changed my perception of tattoos and tattooed people; they were not necessarily bad people they were made out to be. These are good people with good hearts who just love ink on their bodies; as a matter of fact, the tattoos have a positive meaning,” he noted.
Maphakisa said he then went on to advance his skills by watching videos on the internet and even bought good quality equipment to make professional tattoos.
Learning from the internet was not easy and it took him some time to perfect his craft to get to where he is today.
He insisted that what sets him apart from his competitors is the fact that he is very passionate about his work.
“I love my work so much and I am very dedicated. I am unique because I learned all his skills by himself, unlike other artists who went to school earn tattooing.
“My cheapest tattoo costs M300 and I charge according to the size of the tattoo and its part on the body. For instance, some parts of the body are more sensitive and need to be handled with utmost care and caution; as a result, they require more time and cost more,” he explained.
Maphakisa operates from Qoaling Ha Machabachaba. To view his work, one can visit his Facebook page “Kat Khumalo” and for bookings contact +266 63603732.