Malawian opens shoe company in South Africa

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When Ashley Ibrahim who is a Malawian national lost his job as a shoemaker in South Africa following a pay dispute, he decided to start his own shoe making shop in downtown Johannesburg. Ibrahim named his firm Ashley Shoe Company.

According to Ibrahim, at the time he was working for the company, he was earning R300 (K15000) a week.

Ashley Ibrahim

Ashley Ibrahim: The brains behind the company.

“I couldn’t sit and fold my arms. I knew I had a gift of making shoes and I’m a hard worker. I now make up to R7000 (K350,000) a month,” he told a South African newspaper.

Ashley and his employees are using just their hands, a sewing machine, and a grinder, but each month they make over 60 pairs of leather shoes which they deliver directly to their customers by taxis.

Visiting their crammed workshop, four floors up King Spot, the paper noted a litter of bits of rubber, nails, leather cut-outs and plastic bags filled with finished products ready for delivery.

“This is our haven. This place and its mess feeds our families,” Ashley 26, told the paper with pride. Using the knowledge and contacts from his old job, in December last year Ibrahim started making shoes from his apartment and would sell them on the streets of Johannesburg. But it was not easy to trade on the streets as Metro police often raided hawkers’ stalls for illegal trading.”

He escaped arrests at least three times but his merchandise was not spared by police. “I then changed my business module and started selling my shoes through my brother in Durban. I would send him 20 pairs fortnightly,” he said.

As his business started showing growth, early this year Ibrahim started roping in other Malawians and a few South Africans to help him run the business.

There are now 10 people in the business, but some have branched out to make their own shoes using the same workshop. But they all contribute towards the R1600 (K80,000) rental charge.

The group buy old tyres to make shoe soles and leather for straps. It can take up to four hours to craft one pair, which is sold for about R300 (K15000). Julius Robson, 28, has been able to feed his family of five since he joined the group three months ago after Ibrahim saw his products on social media. He makes up to R4000 (K200,000) a month.

“It might look [a] little to some people but it’s a lot of money to us. We are able to provide for our families. Life is tough as it is in Johannesburg,” the paper quoted Robson.

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144 Comments

  1. *@Abdul Rrahman K, Zikomo acimwene cifukwa enawa pafacebook amapezerapo mikangano ndiantu, & Sakuziwa njale zimene ndimaendera pokapelekeza, ma Bosses anga ndipokaalandira Ku OR, Tambo akamatuluka ndikubwera kunja or pogwira nchito zanga, So aaaah, asiyeni anthu Ena saziwa kuyamikila ndikulimbikisa azinzawo koma nsanje basi!! Zonse zimacokera kwa Mulungu, amamuninka aliyense kolingana ndim’mene anamsungila pantawi yake.

  2. Good Idea, despite puting malawi on the map of africa, some malawians who are struggleling to get a job there they will be helped, you are creating job opportunity for the people of your country, remember them whenever you are employing people in your company osawapondeleza ayi!

  3. Made in malawi or made is south africa??? Ku south africa amapanga nsapato yotchedwa grasshopper ndekuti yathu yachimalawiyi dzina lake ndi Frog

  4. #@Jafali Tambala Nzomvetsa chisoni acimwene pazimene mwacomenta apazi, tikamafunila mafuno abwino anzathu ndimalangizo sikuti ndife opepera iyayi enanu mwazolowera kukangana ndi azinzanu pa face book cakupwetekani ndicani inuyo pamenepa. Mpaka mwatcula zambirimbiri, for no reason do you know me??? & you know where am working here, even what I’m doing here I’m just feeling sorry for you, kuno Ku Joni Isay sindikungoyendayenda muno isay, ndili ndi mapepala aku Malawi ndikunonso isay, ndinasaina contract ya ncito moyo wangaonse mupwanga ndili ndi drivers license yamomuno ndinaitanisa banja langa konkuno. Sindine citsilu ayi mpwanga wamva???

  5. Iz nde za zeru iz…………osati ena amapita kukapanga zau sing’anga kapena kukasambitsa a galu….atsikana ndikumakakhala mma brothel……………

  6. veryyyyyiii Good msokhoso uzipereka komko kuno mbava zokhazokha moti misokho yanthu akugulira magalimoto apamwamba anthu akuzuzika ndi njala tiri muwumvuni mchimwene…..

  7. Siyekhayu alipo anyamata ndi asungwana amene ali ndi maluso koma dziko lathu ,atsogoleli athu ali ndi miyoyo yoyipa kuposa ndulu ya ng’ona.Imagi from 1915 when john chilembwe fight for freedom up to last year its 1oo year but look at malawi today its a country of nothing WHY? our leader full of jelous.

  8. Keep it up brother but be careful with Azimayi Pano pa Joni sizochezai akhoza kukuthesera maplan ako onseo chifukwa alibe nazoncito zodikira kufusilidwa ngati Ku Malawi iwowo paja amaziwa kufunsira, kukunyengerera mpaka ulore ndiye cenjerani nao buti!

    • Iwe palibe chimene ukulankhula apa, munthuyu wagwira m’dzikomo mpaka kufika powona kuti ndalama zikumuchepera. Ukuganiza kuti nthawi imene amagwira ntchito, azimayiwo samakumananawo? Ameneyu nzeru zake iweyo ukuchepa, pofika iweyo kumuona lero page imeneyi simasewera ai alindi nzeru zake-zake. Ngakhale utamenyetsa mutu wakowo pansi, maganizo akowo ndi oduma chifukwa choti iyeyo anapitamo kale m’mememo ukunenamo. Zili ndi iye kunyenga mwakathithi, koma ngati maganizo ake ali pabusiness yake izapitilira mpaka iwenso kukayamba ntchito ku kampani yomweyo.

  9. Mzamani Mithi Jack Issah Richard Richeeseboy Bodza Omar The-leader Ritchard Timothy Lax Kimu Lax Daud Richard Makalanie Nyasha Mhuru Rukure Williams Gondwa Mary Chilambula Nosipho Nozy Johnathan Amajimpo Jimpo Nyasa Jeam Chah Jones David Kanyenda Allie Frank Emmanuel Zoya Owen Chaima Abdullah Nankumba George Luiz Nyirenda Stokes Bashir Maunde Rajab Harold Chimango Kayira Djuma Ali Kalenga Sankhanie Kunta-kinte Nyirendah Ashraf Mustafa Kinna Phiri Jos Harry Mkutu Isaac Chikozho Affias Fisher Anonga Kondowe Austin Kasito Pex Jussah Micium Mhone Ivert Hashimu Mtelera Mary Chande Mhone Hastings Manda Charles H Joshi Dan Chitsulo Richard Tiyesi Zione Jean Claude Maluwa Alie Jack Mphah Mwalamba Lonny Caroline Selenje Ali Blessings Idi Malepa Joseph Jumbe Snelia Banda Osman Khendo

  10. I salute u braa! Bt don’t listen to those people who says u should hve open it in Malawi…… Malawi pano wavunda can u just imagine atulutsa K2000.. Zikungowonetseratu kuti chabwino palibe. Remember mau amati Mneneri samalemekedwa pa kwawo ayi. Akufuna kuti ukakatsegula ku Malawi ko azikabwera ndi chiphazi kukupondereza.. komanso tu paja magetsi akumatha mwenzi asadayake nde ndi company yoti yangoyamba kumene mmhh!!!

  11. kkkkkkk,,why should he open it here?,,its wise ofcourse kudxatsegula kuno,,but alot of Malawians dint appreciate their products.he cant make media of exchange enough as he can make as he operate in RSA.Ashley thanks we need ppo like you