Home ECONOMY Kinshasa: Nadine Toko, mother, shoe shiner

Kinshasa: Nadine Toko, mother, shoe shiner


A woman waxing shoes in the streets of Kinshasa? Yes, Nadine Toko decided to think outside the box. To feed her family and afford a minimum of financial independence, this mother of six children found her niche carrier: shoe polishing!

Child tied to the back, cast in narrow pants, Nadine Toko braves the sun. Nadine Toko wanders through the streets of this town, in search of customers. Competition is fairly tough, given the large number of street shoeshiners operating in the same area. For 10 years, Nadine has devoted herself to this profession once considered to be the prerogative of men.She is among the few women, and motehrs at the same time, shining shoes, and is proud of being so for more than a decade.

Nadine Toko travels the streets of Kinshasa in search of clients, carrying her child on her back. She has no complex to be waxing alongside her male colleagues. This differentiates her from other women.”My clients are recruited everywhere, that is, all Kinshasa, but my favorite place is RTNC1 where I have both men and womenclients,” says the mother of six children.

“There is no work reserved only for men and another that is the privilege of the woman, money does not have color, we cannot tell the difference between the money of the woman or man,”she said bluntly.

A trade without losses

“I sometimes earn 10,000, 15,000 or even 18,000 francs a day, and this is a job that has no losses, there are only profits,” she reassured.
It is with this money that Nadine Toko manages to face certain urgent household expenses. Notably, tuition fees, her own needs. Even though she acknowledged that it was for lack of resources that she found herself shining shoes, Nadine Toko has, however, no regrets. “I did not have a capital that could allow me to sell either vegetables, grills or any other product.I tried with shoe polishing.Initially, I was ashamed.But, as I continued, I realized that it was beneficial and I have continued to this day, “she says.

To the young girls Nadine Toko asks them to follow her example of finding an occupation. “There are some small survival businesses that do not require a lot of money at first but are profitable,” she concluded.

Extracts from Forum des As