Anda Mthulu started a shoeshine business to provide more job opportunities. “The drive for inclusion in the workplace of people with disabilities was one of the main reasons I started Msi Shoeshine and Services,” he explains.
Serving the Pinelands offices of Old Mutual and the Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel in Cape Town, his business employs six other people with physical disabilities who are determined to improve their lives.
“Employing people with disabilities is great because it helps boost their self-confidence and makes them proud to be working. It also helps them provide for their families,” Mthulu says.
This entrepreneur’s left leg was amputated after a shooting accident in August 2011. The experience inspired him to start his own shoeshine business and help people with disabilities. Initially, Mthulu was inactive in his business because he had secured a permanent position at the QuadPara Association of the Western Cape.
“In early 2014, I got a job and interned at the organisation for a year. Thereafter, I was promoted to facilitator and administrator, a position I held for three years, which included teaching people with disabilities computer skills,” Mthulu recalls. However, he never gave up on his ambitions.
Even though Mthulu and his workers are resolute, they do face challenges such as access to transport. “My daily mode of transport is a taxi and sometimes the driver may not want to accommodate me because of my wheelchair and the time it takes to get into the taxi,” Mthulu says. “When I catch a taxi, not only do I have to pay my taxi fare, I have to pay for my wheelchair too.”
Since joining the SAB Foundation’s Tholoana Enterprise Programme, Mthulu says he has accomplished his goals and is grateful for the opportunity. “I didn’t know much about running a business, the programme has helped me grow a lot.”
The Tholoana Enterprise Programme supports business by investing in entrepreneurs who are commitment to growing the South African economy. It offers mentorship, business development workshops and seed funding.
Although he is passionate about creating jobs, Mthulu is realistic and understands he can’t help everyone. “People without disabilities struggle to get jobs,” he says. “It is more difficult if you are disabled with no matric certificate. All I can ever wish for is that, when people leave my stables, they see that I am perfectly able to be a valuable part of society.”
Mthulu firmly believes people with disabilities should try to better their situation. He says it is important to have faith in everything you do because “it defines you as a person” and helps you set goals. He advises people never to get discouraged or give up because there are many opportunities to succeed in life.