business

March 25, 2022

KABELO MASOABI

4 min read

Tyre shoes a hit with tourists

Tyre shoes a hit with tourists

Tyre sandals

Story highlights

  • Scrapyard a goldmine in disguise
  • Molibeli ditched carpentry for his new lucrative trade

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WORN out car tyres crafted into shoes are a hit here with tourists willing to pay for recycled trash that usually ends up in the scrap heap.

The tourists are obviously happy for their souvenirs made by Sankonyane Molibeli to take back home.

He skillfully cuts the old tyres, glues and sews them together in various sizes and the tourists just love them.

Molibeli from Sebapala has been doing it for the past five years and says scrap yards have been his profitable goldmine to earn a living.

Apart from local tourists as far as South Africa, he also attracts local clientele to his workshop in the Lower Moyeni market street.

"Actually, it wasn’t this kind of job I started with,” Molibeli told Metro in an interview.

"Tyres are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste,” Molibeli says.

“Due to their shapes and sizes, the tyres occupy a lot of valuable space. But they are some of the most reusable kinds of waste material because the rubber is extremely resilient and it can be used in a number of ways."
After he gave up woodwork in 2018, he was unable to secure employment for quite a while. He then visited a friend in the Eastern Cape, who took him in and taught him how to make fancy sandals from old tyres.
"I just started my business last year and it was difficult getting things in order,” he recalls.

“Finding sources of new materials as well as a new place of operation was another hustle."
Asked where he projects himself in five years?

The high school dropout says he wants to see himself having capacity to produce in bulk.

“At the moment, finding a consistent and a bigger market is still a challenge,” he adds.

Elsewhere, several small entrepreneurs are now turning used tyres into various art forms just like Molibeli.
A group of young people in Leribe has established a workshop where workers transform old tyres and other recycled waste materials into weatherproof outdoor furniture.

 

 

“I was into tailoring; however, a condition I encountered made me switch to carpentry. Because my family was not financially balanced then, I was obliged to make ends meet and that's when I saw a lucrative opportunity in a massive demand for kitchen tables and stools in my area."
The 37-year old father of two girls says as a teenager, he used to do little carpentry work in his house, like making small stools and his skill has since developed.  
However, rapid advancement in technology soon kicked him out of business. The introduction of complex and expensive machinery he could not afford made his simple tools obsolete.

Lack of training also hindered him from designing and producing sophisticated furniture desired nowadays.
"I thought this century might be an interesting turning point in mankind’s way of handling million tons of waste," he says, adding he then saw an opportunity to transform old tyres into unique and endearing sandals.
 

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"Tyres are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste,” Molibeli says.

“Due to their shapes and sizes, the tyres occupy a lot of valuable space. But they are some of the most reusable kinds of waste material because the rubber is extremely resilient and it can be used in a number of ways."
After he gave up woodwork in 2018, he was unable to secure employment for quite a while. He then visited a friend in the Eastern Cape, who took him in and taught him how to make fancy sandals from old tyres.
"I just started my business last year and it was difficult getting things in order,” he recalls.

“Finding sources of new materials as well as a new place of operation was another hustle."
Asked where he projects himself in five years?

The high school dropout says he wants to see himself having capacity to produce in bulk.

“At the moment, finding a consistent and a bigger market is still a challenge,” he adds.

Elsewhere, several small entrepreneurs are now turning used tyres into various art forms just like Molibeli.
A group of young people in Leribe has established a workshop where workers transform old tyres and other recycled waste materials into weatherproof outdoor furniture.

 

 

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