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Shoe cleaning business shines

Written by Nonkululeko Mathebula
Sakhile Mbatha (24) and his brother Manqoba Mthembu (28) have taken charge of their lives and have found a way to be self-sustaining and create employment in their community.

The brothers are owners of Sizanayo Takkie Laundry, based in Spruitview on the East of Johannesburg, an innovative business that cleans people’s dirty shoes.

What started as a part-time business over the weekends has grown into a sustainable  business.

“When we started the business, we were really just working from hand-to-mouth and at no point did we think it would turn out to be this big.

“We just saw a gap in the market where people were lazy to wash their sneakers and started wearing dirty shoes as a trend.

“We decided to take advantage of this and offered our services and washed people’s sneakers on weekends.”

In 2007 Manqoba quit his job to work in the business full-time.

“Although we failed to obtain funding because people didn’t see the business growing on a bigger scale, we didn’t allow that to discourage us and we decided to start off small,” said Mbatha.

So far the business employs seven people from their community on a part-time basis. The employees are gaining some work experience and are able to provide for their families.  

The business is run from a rented garage in Spruitview and attracts clients from different parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

On average, the business takes in about 68 pairs of different kinds of shoes per week and the cost of the service depends on the material of the shoe. The monthly and annual income of the business continues to grow steadily each year. 

“We have big plans for our business and we plan on turning it into a franchise. We would also like to join hands with gym companies and offer our service to their members,” said Mbatha.