By Mashudu Netsianda
The famous adage goes “An idle mind is the devil’s playground or workshop.” It is probably this realisation that pushed Mr John Ncube of Bulawayo to avoid being idle despite the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
What started as a pastime during the lockdown has today turned into a full-time business venture for Mr Ncube who now operates a small, but lucrative floor wax business from his backyard in Bulawayo’s Kelvin North light industrial area.
He capitalised on the temporary setback brought about by the lockdown to start and gradually grow his business.
Mr Ncube sustains his family of five through the innovative idea of making floor wax with plastics, tar, paraffin and milk plastic bottles.
He has since partnered with Mr Onesimo Chagweda and they are supplying small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and vendors around the city. Mr Ncube is a living example of how simplicity can give one a sustainable life.
“When I started this business of making floor wax, it was more like a pastime during the lockdown as I had nothing much to do. Instead of spending time doing nothing, I saw an opportunity in making floor wax in my backyard,” he said.
“People started streaming to my workshop and in no time the demand shot up forcing us to increase supply. We sell our homemade floor wax to individuals, tuck-shop operators and vendors among other customers. They come to our workshop every day to buy our products.”
Mr Ncube explained the steps he takes to make exquisite floor wax.
“I first burn plastic depending on the litres of the paraffin and the burning process takes about 10 to 20 minutes including the milk plastic bottles. The reason why I use these ingredients is not for thickness but for endurance as floor wax sticks better to the floor for a longer period with plastic added to it,” he said.
After the plastic is well melted, Mr Ncube adds candles to stop the plastic from drying up, then he stirs them for a minute to mix the ingredients.
He adds paraffin and stirs the mixture, mainly to further stop the ingredients from drying up quickly and for shining.
Mr Ncube said he stirs and adds three tablespoons of melted tar, which act as a colourant with another added to enhance the life of the polish on the floor.
The last process of Mr Ncube’s recipe of floor wax is to put out the flame and use the embers to allow the mixture to slowly cool down for about 30 minutes.
I do not use the fire because the ingredients at that stage are highly flammable,” he said.
Mr Ncube said he stirs the mixture for a little while and pours it into five, 10 and 20-litre containers to let it dry for one to two hours depending on the weather on that day and sometimes it takes longer when it is too hot.
“I use empty containers of paint to weigh floor wax and sell it to my customers for prices ranging from $80 to $500 depending on the quantities. I sell my finished product from my backyard,” he said.
“The advantage of using homemade floor wax is that it is very cheap and economic unlike the commercial one. The homemade floor wax has an attractive scent that keeps your house sweet-smelling for as long as it lasts,” he said.
In a day, depending on the business, Mr Ncube produces an average 2 000 litres of floor wax.
He hopes to grow his business and be among the big employers once he gets a huge capital injection. The Chronicle