Shoes have become a major accessory/priority in whatever we choose to wear in these modern days we live in, that’s why many people see the need to wear shoes that are stylish, some wear shoes that are expensive and others prefer wearing shoes that represent who they are, while embracing their African ethnicity at the same time.
“Sandals are part of who we are as Africans, we feel more connected to our customs and traditions each and every time we are wearing sandals. When something is part of who you are, you can’t really explain why, it’s like a calling” said Bobo Moko, a 26-year-old cobbler (A person who makes or repairs shoes) and co-founder of Custom Mate, A South African brand that produces quality hand craft accessories, found and established in 2012 by himself, Ndumisa Dube and close friend future Ramoshaba.
This Trio partnership started like any other ambitious dream filled with passion and determination to succeed, Bobo says he was introduced to Ndumiso Dube, a 43-year skilled shoe maker from Kwa Bulawayo by a friend who has been impatiently insisting that he should meet him. Bobo eventually placed an order for these shoes after meeting Mr. Dube, and he instantly fell in love with them. The way these shoes were so contagious and admirable, all his colleagues and friends immediately fell in love with them too.
The Custom Mate team (Bobo Moko, Future Ramoshaba and Pontsho Manyana) were burning with passion to learn more about being a professional cobbler so they bought a sewing machine, some leather and then initiated a workshop where Mr. Dube taught them everything about designing, sewing, and repairing shoes. This workshop helped them develop their skills and become professional cobblers which is compulsory in their field of work because people are always approaching them with different types of designs every day so it’s very important for them to be versatile in what they do.
Bobo says, the purpose of creating Custom Mate was to create accessories that are not easily accessible anywhere else, shoes that are cut according to ones specifications. We know that shoes are the first thing people notice about you so we understand the importance of wearing good, quality bespoke shoes.
Customs Mate allows customers to maneuver their own designs, so you can actually give them details of the type of design you desire and they will accept the challenge and create a masterpiece you requested. They making it more convenient for their customer’s to have a pleasant and productive service.
Their accessories are women’s sandals, men’s sandals, and belts (on special requests) their shoe prices range from R350 to R2000 depending on the style of shoe and the type of leather a customer may prefer. They are currently based in Midrand but just to accommodate people who may be far from Midrand, and may want to make a purchase, Customs Mate also does shipping anywhere in South Africa.
Bobo has always been a confident young man who believes in looking good because it makes him feel good, He always had a good taste in apparel and always wanted to share his fashion sense with his surroundings. He got an opportunity to do so in a form of making sandals and he didn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity and run with it.
Bobo said ” We plan to push the movement, make sure South Africans knows what we do and then take it to the whole African continent, to countries like Ghana, where people are fascinated by sandals”
Custom Mate is a black owned business, blakk renaissance and black excellence movement simply because they are very innovative, produces professional accessories, they cater for the young and old, possess a major influence over the masses and they contribute a lot towards shaping the modern African culture through style and fashion.