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The versatile taekwondo star, model, actor, Rethabile Lesenyeho

May 1, 2021 4 min read

4 min read

EXPERIENCE gained from divergent competitions at both local and international levels contributed immeasurably into turning Rethabile Lesenyeho, an ordinary athlete into one of the most renowned taekwondo stars in Lesotho.

The versatile athlete used to play boxing and rugby before he took up taekwondo and became serious about the sport.

He is also quite handy in handball and is also fulltime actor and a fitness model.

He started playing taekwondo in 2011 and three years later he had jumped all grades and earned a black belt.

“It took me three years to wear a black belt after skipping the orange belt, yellow belt, camouflage (camo) belt, green belt, purple belt, blue belt, brown belt and red belt,” he says.

In 2011, he participated in the Vision 2020 Tournament which was held in Roma and won a silver medal.

In 2012, while still a white belt, he participated in a local tournament, which was held at Sefika High School and won a bronze medal.

He came to the attention of the entire taekwondo family after qualifying to represent Lesotho in China in 2013.

“I had not trained for a whole six months before that qualifying tournament as I was busy preparing for my Junior Certificate Examinations,” he recalls.

In fact, he was not even aware of the tournament until his coach Tota Manase warned him about it at the eleventh hour.

During his first international experience in China in February 2014, he was kicked out in the preliminary stage of the competition.

Later that year, he won a bronze medal in the first Korean Ambassadors Cup held in Maseru.

In July the same year, he spent two weeks in Botswana where he represented Lesotho at the All Africa Games.

He lost in the semi-finals and missed a bronze medal.

In 2015 as a Form E learner at Lesia High School, Lesenyeho competed in the Third Korean Ambassador Cup in Maseru and won a silver medal.

The following year, he became an instructor and mentored the Masowe High School taekwondo club.

Even though he is considered to be a highly experienced and talented taekwondo player, he still has a long way to go.

He is a first Dan black belt and aspires to be a fourth Dan in the near future.

Apart from playing taekwondo, Lesenyeho is also a gifted actor and performs in the Mosola Comedy which is featured on both YouTube and Facebook.

He also plays the role of ‘Ntaote’ in a local soapie called the Days of COVID-19, which is yet to be launched on Lesotho Television (LTV).

“I have plans to be featured in successful South African soapies like Rhythm City one day,” Lesenyeho hopes.

“Young people should focus on their talents. We live in hard times of high unemployment, therefore they should stick to their talents and believe in themselves because that is how they can earn a living,” he advices.

He regards his former mentor Manase, as the best taekwondo coach he has ever worked with.

“He helped develop me into the fine player I have become, I owe everything I achieved in taekwondo to his dedicated mentoring,” he proudly says.

He adds: “Manase groomed me from scratch until I was able to beat him in sparring. Whenever I missed training, he would look for me until he found me wherever I was,” he laughs.

In 2019, Lesenyeho joined modeling as a fitness model at Sotho Kids – a culture oriented modeling company, but he left in 2020 to pursue his studies at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) IEMS campus.

 He is also the founder and a director of the National Talent Search which was officially launched on February 14.  The National Talent Search is an outfit aimed at unearthing modeling talent in Lesotho.

Lesenyeho is also a self-employed businessman who operates a small food business in Ha Thetsane where he sells refreshments to factory workers in Ha Thetsane.

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“I began with Kotas and when the Kota business did not work out, I opted for Russians. But that business although it was successful, it was halted by the restrictions that were brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic because I bought most of my stock in South Africa,” he says.

Born on June 11, 1997, Lesenyeho is the son of ’Mapaballo Thabitha Lesenyeho and the late Retšelisitsoe John Lesenyeho of Semphetenyane, Maseru.

He is the second child in the family of three - all boys.

He first attended school at Leratong Primary but left to complete his Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) at Tsolo Community in 2009.

He went to Lesia High School in 2010 and obtained his Junior Certificate in 2013 before he obtained his Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) in 2015.

During his days at Leratong Primary, he practiced aerobics.

The talented star is currently studying for a Diploma in Business Management at IEMS. He regards his worst performance in taekwondo as the time he lost at the 2014 Chinese tournament.  

But incidentally, his best performance was when he qualified for the same tournament during the competition that was held in Maseru in 2013.

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