On the count of ten shoe vendors along the Kikoni-Kasubi road, at least eight are students. Every evening, students display different types of shoes, from sandals to casual shoes starting from Khan hostel to Kasubi market targeting people who use the road.
According to Enock Kasule, a veteran vendor in Kikoni, nowadays they battle for space with students which was not the case in the past two years. He says, when he gets space, he happens to be surrounded by students vending shoes and this made him to opt for day time for him to earn a living and give chance to these students to work in the evenings.
“Previously, only vendors from Kasubi were involved in shoe vending; however now, students have embraced the business due to the high demand around,” says Mariam Namale, a resident of Kikoni B.
According to James Kityo, a student of Bachelor of Arts with Education, he joined shoe business because of the ready market of campus students living in Kikoni provide. He says the business needs little capital, and he started with two hundred thousand Uganda shillings got from his savings. He used this money to stock a few pairs of shoes from Kikuubo, Royal Plaza opposite Old Taxi Park and Angelica Building opposite the New Taxi Park.
Kennedy Katende, a second year student of Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and also involved in shoe business. He says he earns according to the number of customers he receives a day and how much profit he wants to make on a particular shoe. On average, he earns 5,000 shillings. From this earning, Katende pays fees, hostel charges and gets other needs.
Katende says they encounter challenges such as weather inconvenience during rainy seasons, and lack of market during the holidays since most of their customers are students.
However, Benon Kagwa a shoe store attendant says they get few customers during day since most customers are attended too by the street vendors in the evening when they are from work or lectures.
"Although they bring goods closer to our students, these vendors cause a lot of chaos along the street which hinders proper movement," Christopher Kalanda, the hostel manager of Khan Hostel said.
According to Noreen Atuhaire, a second year student, shoe vendors sell at affordable price which attracts many students to them since these prices fit in their expenditure.
But Sarah Namakula cannot be sure about the quality of shoes here. “I prefer buying things where in case of damage, I can trace where I bought it from so I rarely buy from these vendors. Most of their goods are cheap but they tend to be expensive to maintain,” says Namakula, a first year student of Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Film.