Born and bred in Newcastle in KZN, Nkosinathi Hadebe is the creative brains behind Nathi shoes, a unique collection of custom made shoes. Raised by an entrepreneurial mother; it came as no surprise when Nathi pursued entrepreneurship.

Being the last born of five kids didn’t make Nathi a spoilt brat; instead he learnt valuable lessons from her mother who went on to run a successful business without any education. When he needed something, he would assist his mother and be rewarded for it. “Whatever my mom used to do in her business, I used to be hands on myself”.

Nathi learnt a lot from his mother as far as running a business is concerned. “I used to travel with my mom a lot, she was cutting meat and the business required her to travel from house to house. She was very professional and surprisingly she wasn’t educated; from a domestic worker to being a businesswoman – she had it in her”, says Nathi.

Growing up, Nathi was always interested in art, so it would later come as no surprise that he ended up sketching shoes; though he had thought that he would be a car designer. “I discovered my talent of designing shoes in 2005; I used to like sneakers a lot but I didn’t want what everyone was interested in. After school I’d go to sneaker shops with friends, that’s where it all started. I would get the sneakers and sketch them”.

As good and exceptional his collection of shoes is, Nathi has been met with challenges as far as financial support is concerned. His biggest desire is to own a workshop with the necessary equipment and hire 10 people. Nathi’s biggest challenge is the requirement of R1 million turnover in order to be considered for funding, “It’s a big frustration; I’ve been listening to radio promotions about start-up and small business workshops, where people are told to attend and get help but when we attend we don’t get any assistance; so they’re actually spreading lies”.

Despite the challenges, the future looks bright for Nathi as he has a couple of things lined up to help him grow the brand. “I now have a stall in Newtown and people are beginning to notice my work”.

Nathi needs our support as clients – let’s buy our own South Africa! Potential funders are also needed – this young man will also be creating jobs and needs R1 million investment to acquire the factory, the machinery and create jobs for at least 5 people as a start.

His message to young people is to never give up. “You need positive vibes only and live a life of prayer. My late mom used to say don’t sell yourself short – know what you want and stand your ground”.

(Nathi Shoes designer, Nkosinathi with knitwear designer, Laduma of MaXhosa by Laduma)


By Amanda Matshaka


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