Shoe drive aims to collect as many shoes as possible for the needy, ahead of the winter season. 

The Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO) hosted its annual One Day Without Shoes drive, gathering more than 50 pairs of shoes and socks at the Wits library lawns on May 11, 2023. 

A student attempts to walk on the obstacle course of sand, mud and rocks, during the #OneDayWithoutShoes event on May 11. Photo: Morongoa Masebe.

Student participants were invited to take off their shoes and walk through obstacle courses made of rocks, mud and sand designed to “give people a feel of what people without shoes go through on a daily basis,” said Ntokozo Peter, a student volunteer at the WCCO.  

The campaign, which was started by the Toms Shoes company in 2007, it is now observed annually on May 10, around the world. People partake by walking barefoot and through donating shoes to those in need.  

The Voice of Wits (VOW) FM, collaborated with WCCO to bring live entertainment, which was the soundtrack to some of the games played like musical chairs and bean bag throwing. 

Peter told Wits Vuvuzela that the beneficiaries of the shoes and socks are only decided once the shoes are collected, sorted and organised. He added that they “will look at various homes, or sometimes we go to places where there is a focus of a number of homeless people, and we give the shoes away”. 

A student who was passing by and decided to join, Melisa Zitha, said that initiatives like this are always necessary because “you may not know just how important it is to people without shoes”. 

Ntombi Masiza, who is also a student volunteer and organiser of the event, said that she was happy with the turnout, and was expecting more people to donate before the end of the day.  

Aqeelah Hendrickse, a social worker at the WCCO who is heading this year’s iteration of the One Day Without Shoes campaign, says that the day itself is meant to hype up the initiative and invite people to come and donate shoes and socks. However, shoes and clothing donations are welcomed at the WCCO all year around. 

FEATURED IMAGE: An obstacle course made up of sand, mud and stones, to give people an sense of what it feels like to walk without shoes. Photo: Morongoa Masebe