Morongwa cobbles his way to good money everyday

Morongwa Kgotle wakes up bright and early every day, hitchhikes to Gaborone and drops off at the Gaborone Bus rank, his work place.

It is here that the 47-year-old cobbler sits all day by the pavement which serves as a boundary for Kombis heading to Mogoditshane and Gabane.

He has piles and piles of torn shoes surrounding him and he passionately works on all of them, each at a time. At first glance, he appears a lonely figure but a few steps towards him, the man flashes a warm smile and asks if one wishes to have one’s shoes fixed.

Fixing shoes is what he does every day. He has mastered the art of breathing new life into old, worn out shoes.

As a young boy, Kgotle had big dreams of getting a well-paying job, but here he is, repairing shoes and even doing a very good job at it.

He recalls how he got employed by a few local companies doing carpentry for them but always had to leave due to frustration. He then realised that being an employee was not for him.

“I live in Molepolole, I come here every day, you see this my friend, these are my bread and butter. I feed and clothe because of this,” Kgotle told The Midweek Sun, as he wiggled a shoe he was fixing in the air.

On a good day, Kgotle goes home with a good P600 or more but when business is slow, he makes around P300 a day.

Fixing shoes is what Kgotle has been doing for close to 20 years. He has met all kinds of people while sitting on that pavement that has now become his work station.

“I have met all kinds of people here, some are rude and look down upon me, they associate fixing shoes with poverty, yet I make money unlike most unemployed people out there.

“I do not steal or rob ATMs for a living, in fact I challenge anyone willing to learn to come to me and I will teach them honest ways of making a living. Fixing shoes is actually a fun thing to do,” he said.

Kgotle has six children, all of whom he loves very dearly and will not trade them for anything. He supports them with the money he makes from fixing shoes, it might not be much but the proceeds pay bills.

Nonetheless Kgotle often meets stubborn and difficult customers that want the job done but are not willing to pay. He gets annoyed by those but then remembers that good customer service is what has made him survive for close to 20 years at the bus rank.

He always smiles the painful remarks away and focuses on getting the job done. It is not easy having to bow to everyone but if it brings him money, he is not complaining.