NOEL IYOMBWA writes
In the midst of the Soweto squalor, business is booming for shoe maker Constantine Kepi Munyololo.
He has grown from making ordinary slippers for the low market to producing all brands of good quality foot wear for the up market.
what is so amazing about Munyololo’s story is the fact that he uses very simple machinery to produce pure leather shoes in bulk, enough to satisfy the current demand.
“Business is good, and I can’t complain. Once in a while we also get orders for boots from security firms. People also come to buy school shoes from us because they have realized that our shoes are stronger than the Chinese shoes which have flooded the market,” he said.
Mr. Munyololo has been making shoes right in the middle of Lusaka’s Soweto Market since 2002.
In an exclusive interview, he told The Sun that he began his trade way back on the Copperbelt Province in the early 2000 but later on decided to relocate to Lusaka to work with his equally shoe-making father to produce mostly children’s school shoes.
“I was only making ordinary slippers then but the business was very slow. So I decided to move to Lusaka,” explained Munyololo.
“Business was low with school shoes because the market was then flooded with Chinese shoes,” he stated.
He explained that the duo decided to also venture into the production of all sorts of leather shoes upon realizing that they were not also making enough profits from the children’s school shoes.
“We only used to make school shoes when we began but the market was flooded with Chinese shoes which most people preferred because of its low prices,” he said.
“So we started also making mostly smart shoes for adults though we still continued to produce other types of footwear on order,” Munyololo further stated.
On some of the challenges they face in their shows manufacturing business, Munyololo identified the absence of enough leather law material locally as the most challenging one.
He said that the local leather suppliers prefer to export their raw materials rather than sell it locally because they make more money that way.
“They only sell to us what remains after they have exported,” he said.
Mr. Munyololo observed that, his company, if empowered with enough working capital, would easily compete with large scale manufacturers like Bata Shoe Company.
He called on government to deliberately avail the medium scale entrepreneurs like his company with some loans because they have the potential to grow the country’s economy.
He has accused the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) of not doing enough to sensitize people on how they can easily access loans to grow their business.