Zethu is a Nguni word meaning OURS signifying ownership or heritage. The broader derived meaning for the name of the business is therefore ‘Our shoes’ (izicathulo zethu).
ZETU designs and produces leather shoes in South Africa. Our business has previously been merchandise consultancy (range building) and importing of footwear for and on behalf of our clients in mass-market retail such as Foschini group and Edcon. We have also been entrusted with establishing new footwear brands in the South African market such as Carducci, Viyella and DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC by interpreting their clothing collections and designing shoes to retail alongside the clothing for these brands.
ZETU is set up as a state of the art purpose-built manufacturing facility in South Africa to produce high quality shoes for local and export markets. The factory is located in KwaZulu Natal region of Mandeni at Isithebe Industrial Estate, which is 80 km north of Durban and in close proximity to major railways and transportation routes including the shipping ports of Durban and Richards Bay. Our focus during the initial phase of establishing our business is setting up our design office in Durban and training young people shoe production skills using machinery imported from Germany and Italy in order to use the skills to produce world class footwear. The training Center has been set up at Nseleni in Richards Bay and is equiped with machinery and equipment to produce sandals and uppers of up to 120 pairs a day. Our design office is in Morningside Durban.
ZETU’s birth is the culmination of several years of planning and effort by Yellow Folder Trading to transition into manufacturing locally in line with prevailing economic trends and to capitalise on government’s strategic drive to grow the local manufacturing sector. The shoe industry in South Africa, is on an upward growth trajectory with year-on-year growth of 16% for 2012 to 2013. South Africa will need more factoriesin greater depth and the skills pool to keep up with the demand of locally made footwear. Filling this need is the fundamental purpose of the factory.
The founder of the business is Mr. Reggi Xaba, who has over 20 years experience in the footwear industry. He has worked in manufacturing, retail and distribution at senior level. He is a qualified designer with accolades in the industry. His passion is making beautiful shoes and this will be the edge that the business will have in the industry. He has brought on board Mrs. Khanyi Mashimbye and Thando Kubheka who are bringing extensive experience in retail having worked at senior levels in buying for some major national chain stores in South Africa. The executive team is a group of qualified individuals with long experience in manufacturing and retail industry at senior level.
Our key objective is to develop new artisan skills in the industry through partnerships with tertiary institutions and industry bodies. We have partnered with Umfolozi TVET College, to offer footwear production qualification with our involvement and guidance. They are strategically placed in Northern KwaZulu Natal as well. We are also registered with the Footwear bargaining council and FP&M Seta as a footwear manufacturer. We are bringing technologies from Europe through membership of SATRA and partnership with Torielli who are leaders in footwear technology in the world and introduce them at training level to develop new and modern shoe making skills.
Production will start at 300 pairs a day in 2016, and go up to full capacity of 600 pairs a day by the end of 2017.