19-year-old Musa Maluleka solved a problem an also capitalised on it by carving a niche in the market for himself. This after he saw how the gravel pitches in his hometown Atteridgeville, Pretoria, wore out his soccer shoes; he then started to develop durable soccer boots able to stand the harsh conditions.
Called Disktjie soccer shoes, his innovation was voted as South Africa’s best student enterprise by the Entrepreneur’s Organisation, where Maluleka won $500, or roughly R7, 500, in prize money.
Maluleka said he spent years doing research around shoe production, and finally found a factory which could make the shoes.
He finally found a Chinese company who could manufacture the shoes, and ordered his first batch.
“All shoe manufactures in South Africa told me they couldn’t make soccer boots, and some didn’t really believe in a dream of such a young boy.”
Maluleka said growing up in a township, playing soccer was the one thing that united the community and gave the youth a sense of passion.
“It was [however] really frustrating for me having to buy soccer boots frequently, and realising that my peers stopped playing soccer and ended up on the streets and doing drugs because of this problem,” Maluleka told SPORTS BULLETIN.
He, therefore, set out to develop longer-lasting soccer shoes which would be more affordable to other youth in the community.
The pairs sell for R700, including delivery anywhere in South Africa. Maluleka often works with foundations and non-profit organisations across to country to provide soccer shoes to needy communities.
Maluleka also won the National Entrepreneurship Intervarsity from the department of higher education in 2019 where he was awarded R10, 000. He invested the prize money into his company.