Using YouTube tutorials, friends Inoccent Heita and Onesmus Sheyanale run a successful business fixing shoes at the Ongwediva open market.
The two failed grade 12 last year and were unable to improve their marks through Namcol earlier this year due to a lack of money. They decided to not sit hands folded waiting to be fed or turn to crime and instead started the shoe repair business to help themselves and their families.
The shoe menders started the business only in May this year but have raked up quite a big following of clients, with many people flocking to the stall daily to have the shoes repaired at affordable prices, ranging from as little as N$10, depending on the damage to the shoe.
“We learned from the YouTube videos on how to fix shoes until we got it right,” said Heita (19).
He told Youth Corner the business is doing well and they repair approximately 120 pairs of shoes per day.
“We give excellent service to our clients. Our clients always give us compliments after we are done fixing their shoes. This gives courage and wisdom to continue working hard,” he added.
Heita said they approached the Ongwediva Town Council earlier this year seeking a place to start a business of shoe repairs. “The town council gave us a place in the market. We are happy and grateful because the place is very cheap and affordable. We pay just N$45 per month for rent in the market,” he said.
Despite the business doing well, the duo still wants to join vocational training centres next year – and are, thus, saving money towards that dream.
Heita wants to study plumbing and Sheyanale electricity.
Sheyanale (21) told Youth Corner they do not want to stay in the streets grabbing people’s property, adding that it is a curse when someone goes to bed with tears after losing his or her property in that way.
“I have seen my age mates just all over the streets committing crimes. It’s very wrong. Everyone is capable of doing something productive,” he lamented.
Sheyanale said despite the challenges they are going through, they will not stop hustling because nobody will feed them when they are hungry.
“Nothing comes easy in life. Let’s use our skills to make money instead of being at home depending on our parents,” he urged.
Their challenges include some clients taking longer to collect their shoes after being repaired, while others do not want to pay full price.
The cobblers can be found at the Ongwediva Open Market Monday to Saturday until 17h00.