As the cofounder and operations director of Khantsa Energy, Dennis Labuschagne and his team are proud to provide access to light and solar power in the rural areas of Lesotho.
Due to the tiny kingdom’s mountainous terrain, it faces unique challenges in infrastructure installation. Most efforts to provide electricity are focused on urban and semiurban areas rather than rural villages. Labuschagne and his team provide solar lighting systems, solar geysers, electrical installations, and pay-as- you-go solar kits that feature LED lighting and charging ports to areas in rural Lesotho.
Their work “was born out of connecting with the villagers and hearing about their everyday stories regarding their dire need for electrification”. They have learned the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge into their business model when working in local communities. By communicating and collaborating closely with the people they’re serving, his team has been better able to provide them with what they need.
Labuschagne explains: “We need to place people first by tailoring the design and implementation of projects to the needs and capabilities of those who are supposed to benefit from them. Indigenous knowledge has allowed us to understand community needs beyond electrification. By being invited into the community-building process by the chief, councillors and general assembly, we harness the power of oral knowledge and education passed down from generations; this has led to the 100% successful uptake of renewable energy.”
The company is a recent recipient of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation Äänit Prize for 2022, which supports initiatives that can deliver positive social impact for Africa’s most marginalised populations.
Labuschagne wishes South Africans knew the potential of renewable energy in Africa: “The African continent surpasses all other regions in having the most potential for renewable energy. Our natural environment can provide all we need and we do not have to harm it.”
We’ve learned the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge into our business model when working in local communities