Dreamer from the mountains

Dreamer from the mountains

BEING unable to finish school did not stop Paul Makhakhe (50) from following his passion of being a shoemaker.

Born and bred in Lesotho in led Maseru was difficult for him because his father, the sole breadwinner, had eight mouths, including his mother, to feed.

“I left school in Standard 1. I was the oldest child in my class. It wasn’t a choice of whether I would continue with school because my father could no longer pay for my school fees,”Makhakhe says.

After dropping out of school in 1982 Makhakhe started looking for part-time work in Maseru.

“I was fortunate to find a job repairing shoes. I worked there until 1985. Then my employer told me she feels that I am underpaid judging by the way I work so she suggested I find my own stall and start my own shoe-repair business.

“In 1987 I met a guy from Mozambique who worked under a Portuguese shoe company called Salvador. He was generous because after work he trained me in making shoes from scratch, for free, and even trained me in his spare time.”

Makhakhe imported leather and other materials from Durban, however he realisedit was expensive and was would not make money if he stayed in Lesotho.

So he moved to Durban.

“I moved to Durban to John Ross House. At that time my business was called Paul’s Shoes and everything was going smooth until some of the people I worked with misused the money made from the business and I lost a lot of money.”

“It was the most difficult time of my life because I had to close my business and I was forced to go back to Lesotho with the little money I had.”

In 2011 decided to get back on his feet.

“I came back to South Africa in 2011, telling myself it was not the end of the world. I have a family to feed and they depend on me as the man of the house.

“I managed to get a job at Shoe Africa. Then in no time I started another company called Maseru Mountain Leather Works in New Germany where I live with my wife and children.

He says even though they have challenges he is positive because he is is passionate about his work.

“As a result I am planning on training people in shoe-making in order for the business and skill to keep growing.”

“I have faith and a passion in what I do and I would not trade it for anything. I always tell people to never give up on what they love, because one day things will fall into place. New24

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