Takkie Wash entrepreneur: 'Don't say there's no job, God gave you hands'

2016-07-08 09:04
Takkie Wash - it was all a dream story. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Takkie Wash - it was all a dream story. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - The bristles of a brush rubbing against shoes is the first thing you hear when you come upon the dusty corner of a street in Evaton, north of Sebokeng - where three men earn their daily income.

The men started their "Takkie Wash" three months ago not only from a desire to be to be different, but as a way to provide for their families, they say.

They spend their entire week cleaning dirty shoes with what they call their "secret soap".

"You bring me the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I'll give you the recipe for the secret soap," joked one of the owners, Themba Gcantsana, 30.

Once the shoes have been washed for R15 a pair, they are placed on a wooden stand to dry.

The three wash about 20 pairs on a Saturday and 15 on an average weekday.

Gcantsana's partner, Lebohang Ledimo, 31, told News24 they started the business to escape the jaws of crime.

Growing the business

"When we started out, my family thought that we were crazy, but now my family is happy that I bring something home to provide," Ledimo said.

Gripping the News24 microphone firmly in his right hand, Ledimo said God gave everyone a skill to use to the best of their ability.

"I wanted to do something with my life. All you need to do is to believe."

Ledimo dreams of expanding the business to create more employment for the youth.

Wearing a green hoodie and brown cap, the third partner, Sibonginkosi Jemlana, 31, said he always wanted to show people that nothing was impossible.

"My family thought we would not get far in life, but I always knew what I wanted to achieve in life," Jemlana said, sitting in front of a bucket of soap water, gesturing with black shoelaces in his hand.

Gaining people's trust

The social media brain behind the business, Busiswa Zanendaba, started a Facebook page. She offered to help them after they washed her shoes for her.

"The Facebook page grew from six followers to over 16 000 followers overnight," Zanendaba said.

She was amazed by the support they had received from the public.

"We got investors reaching out to us; it has just been absolutely crazy. To think this was all a dream."

Gcantsana said they initially struggled to gain people's trust.

"We did not have many clients when we started out. People thought that we might steal their shoes."

They had to remind themselves to be strong. The secret to achieving anything was to start small and work hard, he said.

"Don't say there are no jobs in South Africa. Think by your mind, you've got hands. God gave you hands and God gave you a mind to think," added Jemlana.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news  |  youth  |  small business

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