Teenager suffering from anxiety is claiming his smile through fashion

Eric Nkole of Future Wash from Table View. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Eric Nkole of Future Wash from Table View. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 16, 2023


Cape Town - Young up-and-coming entrepreneur Eric Nkole, 18, is looking for an angel investor who can help him kick-start his business of printing and selling T-shirts.

Known for washing cars wearing his “calling card” apron, Eric is saving towards his business goals.

After arriving in South Africa from the Democatic Republic of Congo (DRC) about six years ago, Eric had to sacrifice a few things that could have easily paved the way for him.

The lack of speaking English, having a fear of being on stage and talking to people, forced him to drop out of school and self-isolate.

Eric was then diagnosed with anxiety, which made sense to him considering the fact that he has always doubted himself around people.

“Anxiety placed me far away from society. I preferred to spend every moment of my life on my own because every time I was around people I would lose my voice, start shaking and struggle to breathe,” he said.

Although things seemed far out of reach for Eric, one thing remained instilled in his mind: the fact that he always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and with that he decided to create unisex rainbow T-shirts with the logo “Let me smile”.

“My passion was to become an entrepreneur that solves problems for society. I spent most of my time watching motivational videos about how to become the best version of myself.

“One day I woke up with a vision to create something that will boost my confidence around people. A vision of (me) with a smile, which resembles a version of myself being a happy relaxed person.

“My clothing encourages me to love myself and know that I am the best version of me, and if someone has a problem with how I look, speak or who I am, they should let me smile.”

Striving towards his goal, Eric is now under the wing of Belinda Wreyford, a woman he met by chance while he was offering his car wash service.

Wreyford has helped him by sharing his “Future Wash” business on social media, hoping to reach angel investors who are willing to invest in his T-shirt business.

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Cape Argus