Musa Maluleka (supplied)
Musa Maluleka (supplied)
  • Musa Maluleka, 19, developed soccer shoes unique for gravel pitches to make it more accessible for the youth to keep them off the streets. 
  • Maluleka said his soccer shoes have bigger and more spikes to make it durable for gravel fields. 
  • His business was voted the best student enterprise in South Africa in 2020.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa's home page.

When 19-year-old Musa Maluleka saw how the gravel pitches in his hometown Atteridgeville, Pretoria, wrecked his soccer shoes, he set out to develop shoes which would be durable enough to stand the harsh conditions. 

This year his solution, Disktjie soccer shoes, 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 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 Business Insider South Africa. 

He, therefore, set out to develop longer-lasting soccer shoes which would be more affordable to other youth in the community. 

Maluleka said he spent years doing research around shoe production, and finally found a factory which could make the shoes.  

“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.” 

He finally found a Chinese company who could manufacture the shoes, and ordered his first batch. 

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. 

Also read: This dad started a sandwich business to look after his child using his last R800, and now makes R20,000 a month

The Entrepreneur’s Organisation Global Student Entrepreneur Awards finals are set to take place in Cape Town on April 28, where he stands the chance to win $25,000, or roughly R374,000, in cash. 

Musa Maluleka receiving his Entrepreneurs Organisa
Musa Maluleka receiving his Entrepreneurs Organisation Global Global Student Awards for South Africa from judge Adam Shapiro in January (Supplied)

Maluleka is studying accounting at the University of Witwatersrand to ensure that he’d be able to effectively manage a business.   

He is working on refining his shoes and hopes the shoes inspire pride in township soccer players. 

“Yes, we don't have grass - we have gravel. But that is our own unique proudly African identity and story that we need to embrace to inspire hope in the millions of kids here in Africa who play on those gravel pitches,” Maluleka said.