Murendeni Mafumo dared to find an answer to a vital question: how does one filter dirty water in an energy-efficient way so that more people can drink and make use of clean water? Macadamia nut shells — of course!
Mafumo’s innovative thinking led him to become the founder of Kusini Water, a social enterprise that builds water treatment systems from nanotechnology. His company has developed a mobile and solar-powered water purification system that operates using locally sourced macadamia nut shells to filter and produce safe drinking water in rural areas.
The knowledge that he gained while studying chemistry at Cape Peninsula University of Technology is evident in his every move. Kusini is innovative not only in the way it purifies water, but also in its decentralising treatment, which ensures a more efficient local distribution of water. Kusini systems produce more water while using less energy than comparable practices.
One of Mafumo’s proudest achievements was when Kusini Water entered one of the driest regions in South Africa, Griekwastad. Its technology is now being used in this community to produce 1 000 litres of clean water per hour.
“People, our community and our beneficiaries are the most important stakeholders. Without their buy-in, no well-intended project will ever work,” Mafumo says when asked what he’s learned through his work.
The one thing that he wishes South Africans knew more of regarding their environment is that as much as we are resource-rich, we are still vulnerable — and we all need to be responsible stewards.
His philanthropy doesn’t end in the environmental sector. Mafumo also owns a company called Gentle Giant, a technology company that helps the youth in townships and rural areas learn maths and science. From chemistry to calculus, this man is on a mission.
Without [community] buy-in, no well-intended project will ever work