From bags and bricks made from recycled materials, to a mobile legal office and a gangster museum, you’ll be inspired by the simplicity and ingenuity of these social entrepreneurs’ ideas.
1. Cleopatra Simelane
Don’t tell Cleopatra Simelane print is dead. The Soweto-based actress and social entrepreneur is the founder of Recess Movement: a company that promotes healthy living to high school learners. They produce an edutainment magazine targeted at high school learners aged 15 to 20, and entirely produced by the students, and is distributed to 10 000 young people over 200 schools. They also host events where young people are taught the importance of healthy living through exercise and meditation.
2. Brian Mokhachane
Brian Mokhachane is making things of beauty from discarded items. He runs a project called SoulArt Foundation that turns waste into art. He makes bags, journals and furniture from recycleable material. The Joburg-based artist sees art as a medium for tackling society’s biggest issues and runs his project to create awareness around recycling while providing an alternative to drugs and crime. He wants to grow SoulArt into a community art academy in communities across the continent.
3. Samantha Ngcolomba
“Two out of three African women cannot access basic legal information and services,” says Johannesburg-based attorney Samantha Ngcolomba. She’s changing that as founder of Lady Liberty, a mobile legal office that travels to and provides pro-bono legal services to women in underprivileged communities. She’s reached 650 women and hopes to help 5 000 in the next three years.
4. Wandile Nqeketho
Wandisile Nqeketho is tackling gangsterism through education. The Khayelitsha-based entrepreneur is the founder of 18 Musuem – a “gangster museum”, which will be curated by ex-offenders; giving them a second chance to reintegrate into society and employment. Wandisile, a graduate from the Raymond Ackerman Foundation is also one of Mail and Guardian 200 young South Africans for 2013.
5. Ruramai Musekiwa
“We are beautiful,” reads a line on Ruramai Musekiwa’s website, Sibahle. A simple and conclusive statement for an amazing project. Her company, Sibahle, uses different artistic mediums to celebrate Africanism and African women. Her projects include an illustrated series of posters of inspirational black women, and Sibahle magazine.
6. Shalton Mothwa
Technology and science are Shalton Mothwa’s playground. The nuclear physics honours graduate is the inventor of AEON power bag — a small bag that turns radio signals into electric energy that can be used to wirelessly charge your cellphone or tablet. Last year Shalton clinched top honours at the Just Pitch 180 competition.
7. Ian Dommisse
Architect Ian Dommisse is currently rebuilding a learning centre in Port Elizabeth. Nothing to make a noise about, until you consider the fact that he’s using plastic bottles as his building blocks. Founded in 2013, The EcoBrick Exchange tackles pollution and infrastructural challenges by using waste to make “eco bricks”, 2 litre plastic bottles filled with non-recyclable waste material.
Photography by Siyabonga Mkhasibe
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