The shoemaker who rose from the ashes

Seven years ago, Neila Major watched in helpless horror as hungry flames devoured her house in Borolong.

A vendor who used to order clothes from Zambia, the 59-year-old lost her entire stock to the devastating fire and was instantly turned into a pauper.

“I had nothing. The house burnt down to ashes and turned me into a charity case. For three months I depended on government handouts and donations from well-wishers,” recalls Major.

However, like the mythical phoenix, she rose from the ashes.

Rather than dwell on her misfortune, the strong-willed Major took advantage of the government’s poverty eradication programme and enrolled for a Leather Works course at Sese.

“I learned how to make handbags, sandals, belts, and later shoes,” she says.

It is the last item that Major has excelled at.

Under her company, Nelia Leatherworks, she has emerged as a shoemaker of note.

The entrepreneur, who is also a Sub-Bishop at St Mark's Church, started her business in 2014 with no machinery.

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