22 March 2018

Namibia: Shoe-Loving Youth Establishes Laundry Service

Leonardo Hoxobeb, who owns a footwear laundry, has been a shoe lover for as long as he can remember.

The 27-year-old young man from Mondesa, Swakopmund, keeps thinking back at the years when he was only in Grade 4 at Atlantic Junior School at Swakopmund.

"I was so young back then, but I remember not having shoes, while my friends were walking around with their fancy shoes. My mother could not afford to buy me shoes," he said.

However, he started doing garden work and helping out in supermarkets after Grade 10, and grabbed the opportunity to save money and buy all types of shoes his heart desired.

"I kept buying shoes until my current boss one day advised me to do something else with my love for shoes than just buying and wearing them. It was the best advice I ever got from someone," he said.

"People started complimenting me on my shoes that were always neat and clean, and that was the moment it dawned on me that I could actually clean shoes for those who could not do it themselves," he said.

Hoxobeb then started advertising his shoe cleaning business among friends, family and colleagues. His customers keep bringing all types of shoes, from sneakers to leather shoes, for cleaning.

"At the moment we clean about five pairs of shoes per day, and I think it will become even better, since I now have a permanent and visible venue where we do shoe laundry. People come to me because I use a special kind of cleaning material. They can hardly believe it when they pick up their shoes three hours later," he smiled.

"He did a great job on my shoes. I took my white All-Star sneakers to him at 14h00 and by 19h00, I got them back, sparkling white [sic]. He is very fast and efficient," said one of his customers, Amalia Bees.

Hoxobeb recently built an attractive structure in Mondesa's Stormberg Street and it is now clearly being noticed by many of Swakopmunds's residents.

He has also employed two other people he trained to clean shoes properly, while he goes to his day job.

"We just need to think out of the box. It is not that difficult to just sit in quietness and think a bit. There are so many possibilities out there for the youth, but we are so busy with all the wrong things that are taking us nowhere. Why do we wait for others to push us?" he asked.

He noted that he is inspired by youth of other countries, who are very hard working. He says his customers are mostly impressed, because he goes the extra mile to deliver their shoes for free.

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