Uchwepheshe Wezicathulo (The Master Cobbler)
Google maps update: Efficient, friendly, neighbourhood shoe and bag studio: Master cobbler Thabiso is ubiquitous in Parktown North, Johannesburg. (Star rating 4.2 and above)
Five years ago in World 36, Thabiso (pseudonym) was the lone cobbler at the corner. The busy corner opposite offices, flats and restaurants provided shelter from the hot sun of summer but was bitterly cold in winter. Today Thabiso is the neighborhood’s best asset. One consequence of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was high unemployment in South Africa (36% overall and 63% for youth). The middle and upper classes revolted and would no longer tolerate living with the day-to-day pain of gross inequality and/or indulge in the wasteful practices of global capitalism. Thabiso is their means to keep well-heeled and current.
This Exploration was contributed by Nobukhosi Ncube and Dr Nancy Coulson (located in South Africa), developed from a World contributed by Sara E. Bernat, using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the authors and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.
Does this World remind you of something?
I am keen to hear about any historical or contemporary real-world examples – whether individual practices, subcultures or mainstream activities – that this fiction brings to mind.
Please share any such examples using this form. Thank you!