Woman crafts crochet sandals, shoes

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
CITY of Gweru-based Ms Doreen Mundondo (53) has taken the shoe fashion industry in the Midlands capital by storm after introducing crochet sandals and shoes to the market.

In the early eighties up to the nineties, common among people were crochet jerseys and hats but now there are sandals and shoes.

Crocheting is a process of creating textiles by using a crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials.

The name is derived from the French term crochet, meaning small hook.

Originally from Masvingo, Ms Mundondo who now walks with the aid of a crutch after fracturing her leg twice in 1999, said she is making a living from her trade.

Ranging from US$3 for children going up to US$6 according to size, the sandals are selling like hot cakes.

Money – Image taken from Pixabay

“Way back I used to crochet covers that people would put on video cassette players as a way of protecting and beautifying the machines. I have now moved to handmade crochet summer/ winter shoes, slippers and slops for the young and old,” she said.

Ms Mundondo who has found a selling point outside OK Supermarket in Gweru, said she learnt how to crochet shoes while in South Africa.

“I learnt how to do this while I was in South Africa where I stayed for many years. I saw someone wearing a crochet shoe and fell in love with the design. I was very much inspired and asked the person how it was done,” she said.

After being taught, Ms Mundondo said she bought different types of soles and wool and started practising how to make the different sandals and shoes.

“Obviously it wasn’t easy and took me time until I was satisfied with the quality. This all happened when I was in Pretoria when I first saw the art back in 2014,” she said.

When Ms Mundondo came back home, she said she suffered an unfortunate incident when she tripped and fell to the ground while carrying a bucket of water from a borehole.

“It was in 2019, when I came back and fractured my leg. I was coming from the borehole and carrying a bucket of water. I missed a step, tripped, fell and fractured my right leg. As I was healing, I again fell and the same leg was fractured for the second time and now I am using a crutch because at my age I was told it would take a long time to heal,” she said.

Ms Mundondo who got divorced in 2006, said she had to learn and accept that she would be using a crutch for a long time.

“I live in Mkoba 19 suburb in Gweru and I divorced in 2006. With my skill, I am able to pay rentals and look after myself. I work even at night when I get orders. My children are in Chiredzi and the first born, Kelvin, is into designing shoes and other things like T-shirts,” she said.

Ms Mundondo said her only challenge is finding raw materials.

She said she uses flair wool and soles she gets from South Africa.

“The problem I have is lack of materials as I import them from South Africa. I can’t travel now because of the leg. Some customers want colours which I don’t have and some want sole sizes which I don’t have yet they available in South Africa,” said Ms Mundondo.

She said sandals are the latest trend in the crochet project and the perfect addition to one’s summer wardrobe.
This collection, Ms Mundondo said, has different crochet patterns for beautiful sandals for summer.

“I have realised that whether you are a beginner or a more experienced crocheter you will find the perfect patterns available that are easy to make. I do crocheted sandals that are perfect for winter and summer,” she said.

Ms Mundondo said her experience has been on boots, slippers and shoes.

“The trickiest part of each pattern is working the first row of single crochet in the holes on the flip flop soles. Once that is finished, the tension is really evenly spread between the holes, which is what I think makes them durable. The good part about this project is that you can customise the sole in any way that you want,” she said.

Ms Mundondo said she was planning to use social media such as WhatsApp to market her products.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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