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Shoeless boy grows into sneaker boss

Lekau Sehoana, founder of Drip Footwear, a multi-million rand sneaker brand founded at his Ivory Park home. / SUPPLIED
Lekau Sehoana, founder of Drip Footwear, a multi-million rand sneaker brand founded at his Ivory Park home. / SUPPLIED

Lekau Sehoana is living his dream trying to inspire and empower young people.

Sehoana, 32, moved from having no shoes to wear to building a sneaker brand called Drip Footwear.

Though he started off back in 2003 by redesigning old sneakers by adding denim cloth and some polyurethane fabric to them, the formal trade of Drip as a commercial brand started last year.

The business is now a multi-million rand operation.

Born in Limpopo but raised at an informal settlement in Ivory Park, Midrand, Lekau said his humble beginnings inspired him to go into the world of business.

"My inspiration of going into business was not having much, including shoes. I grew up in an impoverished family. Sometimes relatives and neighbours would give us clothes," Sehoana told Sowetan.

"My grandmother taught me how to sew. So for this one particular day at school, we were told to wear our private clothes. I didn't have any shoes to wear. So I took an old torn pair of sneakers and I sew it together, using denim and polyurethane.

"That's how I created my first pair of sneakers."

He said he later made sneakers for teachers and schoolmates at Eqinisweni Secondary School in Ivory Park outside Tembisa.

"That's what I did most of my high school years. This is where the inspiration for Drip came from."

Sixteen years since his first sneakers in 2003, Sehoane has not only made himself a top businessman but also created opportunities for his family and other people who were there during hard times.

He said his company's slogan, "The Township Dream", is meant to raise hopes and inspire youth growing up in poor environments to dream big and far beyond their lives' circumstances

Tomorrow, Drip Footwear opens its second shop in the Pretoria CBD, after opening their first store at Newtown Junction in Johannesburg.

But Drip's shoes can be found at other retail shops specialising in sneakers.

Sehoana said going forward he wants to "impact and empower young black people, create employment".

"I want us to have more physical and online shops and tap into the sports market by designing running shoes, soccer boots, gym wear and soccer jerseys.

"My dream is to see one of the biggest PSL clubs walking onto the pitch wearing tracksuits and soccer boots by Drip; seeing one of the best athletes in the world, Caster Semenya, running in Drip attire."

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