Hope after tragedy. Meet the craftsman who found the conviction to truly live

 
 
 

It was five minutes to midnight. Thabo Dube remembers the exact moment his life changed. He was on the back of a motorbike, when in an instant, he hit the ground. After colliding with another bike, Dube’s right leg had to be amputated and he was confined to a hospital bed for nine months. The accident wrecked his body. But it was nothing compared to what it did to his mind. “I lost hope,” Dube says. “It was a struggle just to go through one day.” In the fight against depression, he designed an unexpected purpose.

Dube started buying cheap T-shirts and printing on them. ‘With a T-shirt like this, who needs a leg?’ they read. It was an unusual pursuit, but it kept him motivated to take on each day. Soon, Dube’s sartorial interest expanded to leather crafting by stitching wallets from offcuts. Conceptualising new designs gave Dube a reason to get up each morning. His venture has now grown into a bag business called LETZ. Sewn into his pieces is the conviction to live every day to the fullest. Today, Dube’s workshop in Stellenbosch employs five people from the community. “The best part about my business right now is the fact that we are creating jobs,” he says.

Dube’s heart soars every time he sees someone carrying his bags. They’re a symbol of how far he’s come since the accident. Becoming an entrepreneur has shown him that his potential is in his creativity. Most of all, it’s given Dube the desire to persevere. His testament to living is proof that whatever life takes away, we always have more to give back.

 
Nuraan Shaik