Rivaldo has a sparkly, shiny future

Rivaldo Johannes, right, and his father Mario wash a car in front of their house.

An enterprising Portland High School pupil is following his dream of becoming financially independent and supporting his family.

Rivaldo Johannes, 17, from Eastridge, started his own car wash three years ago.

Even high water restrictions, imposed by the City of Cape Town due to the severe drought, did not break his spirit.

Rivaldo simply converted his business to a waterless car wash.

He runs the business from the home of his proud parents, while also still juggling all his school and sport responsibilities.

“When I started it was a normal car wash, but just three months ago I decided to change it to a waterless car wash because of the City’s water restrictions.

“And the reason I started it is because I didn’t want to depend on my parents,” he explained.

The waterless car wash method involves wiping the vehicle with a cloth and products Rivaldo buys from local stores.

“I spend about R300 to buy products every month at one of the popular stores in Promenade Mall.

“And it’s simple to use them, just spray the car and you wipe with a cloth in one direction.

“And you spray it again and take another cloth and dry it; simple as that. It takes about an hour to finish it,” said Rivaldo.

He may be running a booming business now but when he first told his peers about his concept they made fun of it.

“They laughed at me, thinking that I’m not going to make it, but there were those who were so encouraging including my family. This is unique. I’m the first person owning a waterless car wash in the area.”

Rivaldo said because of his busy schedule, his customers have to make bookings.

“I do accommodate clients even if someone didn’t make a booking and I’m available. But I have to balance my studies with work. And I also play rugby at school.

“So, during the week I start working at five to seven in the evening. And on weekends I work from the morning till late. When I have a good day on weekends, I wash about six cars a day,” he said.

Rivaldo said his prices are affordable.

His father Mario Johannes described him as a workaholic. “I know he is a go-getter and we are willing to support him until the end. Our wish is when he is successful in his business, he also ploughs back in to the community.”

Mr Johannes praised Rivaldo’s initiative. “We have problems of gangsterism and drugs in the community. And what he is doing is changing the perception about Mitchell’s Plain as a whole.

“Some people prefer to wash their cars in wealthy areas and leave our car washes here,” he said, adding that everyone in the family is supportive.

“Even his younger siblings sometimes assist him by collecting cloths or passing polish and so on.

“When he started his business we bought him a vacuum cleaner and other small things,” said Mr Johannes.