Lethabo Mokoena is a young entrepreneur who is playing a role in changing the unemployment situation in his home surroundings of Daveyton, Ekurhuleni. It was after he returned home from completing a degree in Corporate Communication at the University of Johannesburg in 2015 that he realised the importance of building at home first.
“I came back and even though I had changed, things had stayed the same. My peers were jobless, and they would spend their days at street corners, young and going to waste. That’s when I decided to start the business and asked the people around me if they would join me.”
Sneaker culture is an institution in South Africa, and people are often sensitive about mistreating their valued shoes.
“If you think about it, using a washing machine or hard bristles to clean your shoes is very damaging, and a lot of people do not like these methods. At Walk Fresh we hand wash them, because we understand their delicacy, and we understand the cultural attachment that our clients have to their shoes, be they sneakers or suede or leather shoes.”
Walk Fresh is a sneaker-cleaning and shoe-care start-up, which hand washes your precious shoes, while also offering deliveries as well.
Demand is steadily growing, and in addition to the flagship store in Daveyton that also serves as a workspace for young entrepreneurs, Walk Fresh drop-off points can be found at laundromats in Edenvale, Fourways and Randburg, and another store will be opening soon in Durban.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur collaborated with brands such as Kiwi, J&B, Nike and a number of local youth brands in his township in an effort to deliberately plough back into the township economy. — Nomonde Ndwalaza