Washing takkies is better than waiting for handouts

2011-03-12 15:20

Washing someone else’s dirty takkies might not be your cup of tea but for two enterprising youngsters, dirty shoes have become their passport to employment.

Patricia Radebe (20) and Vusi Nhlapo (26), both unemployed, did not want to sit around and wait for government handouts.

Instead, they saw a gap in the market and with the help of shoe polish manufacturer Kiwi, set themselves up in business at two taxi ranks.

Patricia and Vusi’s road to success started with a good business plan and now each has a little business they can call their own.

“I passed my matric last year and I did not have any money to further my studies,” says Patricia.

Before this she had survived on government grants.

Then her aunt told her about a competition that gave finalists a chance to run their own business.
“My parents died when I was nine and I had been doing odd jobs until this opportunity came along,” says Patricia.

Before starting her new venture she worked at a tavern to make ends meet.

“My aunt is unemployed so I asked a friend’s relative if I could help out at the tavern because the government grant that I had been receiving was cancelled last year,” she says.

Her business is situated at the Vereeniging taxi rank, where it’s handy for customers to bring their takkies to be washed for R10 a pair.

“I get a lot of customers and have also been receiving support from my family and friends,” says Patricia.

Vusi operates his shoe-washing business at the Randburg taxi rank.

“I could not find a job after matric and was unable to further my studies because my parents passed away, so starting this business really helped me,” says Vusi.

He says his business attracts between six and 15 customers on a good day.

He hopes to expand it “so that I can help my brother the way he has been helping me throughout the years since my parents passed away”.
Both entrepreneurs would like to further their studies.

“I would like to become a social worker because I would like to help people like myself. They need to have a better future than I did,” says Patricia.

“There is a lot of suffering in the townships and even if people report it, government does not always respond, so I would like to help those people with their problems.”

» Patricia and Vusi are finalists in the Kiwi Takkie Brite entrepreneur search. The winner will receive R20 000 cash and a bursary to study business management.

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