Tshoarelo Glen Machabaphala gave up a career as a metallurgist last year to satisfy his entrepreneurial itch. Seven months ago he took the leap and launched himself 4gy (pronounced foggy) sneakers, realizing his passion for footwear.
4Gy is a purpose-oriented brand, says Machabaphala. Machabaphala’s given name, Tshoarelo, means “forgiveness”. And that’s what his brand of him is, too, she says. “So much is happening in the world right now, we have so many people struggling with mental health, the aftermath of Covid and so on.
The brand speaks of a relationship with God and of asking for forgiveness ”. He says we all need to forgive ourselves too and achieve inner peace – and that we all have the power to ignite it in others as well.
He wants his branding to be a catalyst for this notion. Finally, its ambition includes owning the entire supply chain and creating job opportunities locally.
Everything he shares is backed by an unremitting belief in South Africa’s growth potential, and he claims that an entrepreneur base is where building the nation’s economy begins.
Machabaphala grew up in a village called Fatima in Limpopo. It wasn’t an easy life, he says, but it firmly fixed his love for humanity and the elevation of people.
Shoes were a rare commodity when he grew up as families struggled to make ends meet, including his own. “There are many privileges we didn’t have. We walked many kilometers to go to school and many children did not have shoes ”.
Later, during his studies, his classmates lacked basic knowledge of computers, he says. “The teacher asked us to move the mouse and I saw many people rushing to find him. They didn’t know what the mouse was. Many, on the other hand, have tried to move the keyboards or simply have done nothing, confused “.
Machabaphala said this is where he began to see the potential for exposing people to knowledge and opportunity – and when people come from a disadvantaged background, they are thirsty for opportunity and have the will to learn.
His 4Gy shoes are designed with comfort and practicality in mind: “The sneaker is made with material to promote ventilation for sweaty feet, while the sole is designed for a comfortable fit.” They are lace-up, but can also be worn comfortably without laces. A launch design is currently available in a variety of colors