Meet the cobbler who taught himself to make shoes

The Chronicle

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief

LAWRENCE Tshuma, a cobbler and shoemaker first attempted to repair a damaged shoe when he was a 10-year-old.

Coming from a poor background, Tshuma’s parents could not afford to buy him a new pair. He had no choice but to repair his worn out school shoes, though he did a shoddy job, to ensure that he always had shoes on his feet.

The 40-year-old, who is from the Mzimuni area in Gwanda, said his first attempt at mending his shoes was to patch a hole. He used a wire as a makeshift needle, used a piece of cloth as a patch and used a strand from a sack as a twine.

Tshuma gradually became better at repairing his shoes and his family noticed. Before he knew it members of his family started giving him their shoes to repair at home.

The Gwanda-based cobbler said he started his business of repairing shoes in 2004 while he was operating underneath a tree.

“I started shoe repairing as a business in 2004 but before that I started repairing my own shoes at a young age. My first attempt was in Grade Seven. I was raised by a single mother in the rural community of Mzimuni area in Gwanda. My mother couldn’t afford to buy me a new pair of shoes each time they got torn or worn out,” he said.

“This pushed me to learn how to repair my own shoes. I made a needle out of a wire and I used a strand from a sack. My first attempt was terrible but as I continued to repair my shoes the more I improved. When I moved to Gwanda Town I started off as a vendor and then I moved to shoe repairing. I started

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