Stellenbosch Network : Finalists announced for the ‘Smart Kayamandi’ #IdeasForChange Challenge
XX March 2023: Following months of deliberation, Stellenbosch Network has crowned Chuma Lalendle and Sbahle Mgijima as the winners of the fourth edition of the #IdeasForChange Challenge. The two young innovators walked away with a R20 000 cash prize to support their ‘Smart Trolley Recycling’ idea. They had gone head-to-head with Retief Louw, who developed New-Queue, a WhatsApp-based chatbot that automates the scheduling of clinical appointments and two postgraduate students at Stellenbosch University, Tinobokashe Ncube and Onai Mtengwa, who secured their spot in the finals thanks to their idea to use mobile technology to support the ability of households to grow more successful kitchen gardens.
Many South African townships, including Kayamandi, are drowning in waste due to a lack of trash collection services 1 . According to the National Institute of Health 2 , the plastic materials manufacturing sector is booming, particularly packaging; while only a fraction of its waste is recycled, another fraction is destroyed, and the larger part continues to pollute the environment. To make matters worse, South Africans generate at least 122 million tonnes of waste per year 3 , and only 10% is recycled or recovered for other uses, while at least 90% goes to landfill or is dumped illegally.
In trying to salvage the situation, Lalendle and Mgijima hope to tackle the growing waste problem in Kayamandi and ensure that less recyclable materials end up in landfills by developing a fit-for-purpose Smart Trolley. The trolley will be specially designed to make it easier for collectors to handle, store and transport waste. This will then be supplemented with a digital application for households, who will use the platform to manage their recycling and inform waste pickers when it is ready for collection. To encourage the households to recycle, the households will be incentivized with various tokens ranging from electricity units, cellphone data or even coffee shop vouchers.
“Being born and raised in Kayamandi, it’s difficult to be ignorant in seeing the backward system that we grow up in, at some point, we, as the youth – the future leaders- need to take the initiative. If there is an opportunity for us to step up and make the change that we want to see, then we should grab it and run with it. We are basically trying to eliminate the stigma around the saying that Black people are not progressive. Black people progress through education and seeing other successful black people do things,” says Sbahle.
The #IdeasForChange challenge was formed in partnership with , Ranyaka, Stellenbosch University, , and Stellenbosch Municipality, with the aim to discover and incubate the development of innovative ideas, business models, process flows and technology, to help transform Kayamandi into a modern hub of economic growth and activity. The winners received a R20,000 cash prize, with second and third place receiving R6,000 and R4,000 respectively.
Stellenbosch Network coordinator Hanli Brink adds: “Smart Kayamandi’ is an initiative born of Lunttu founder, Wesley Diphoko, who also grew up in Kayamandi and sees technology and digital skills as a catalyst to transform the township into an inclusive micro-economy. Year-on-year, the ideas that are submitted keep getting better and better. We received about 44 applications, and 900 votes from the public via our social media channels.”
Brink adds: “We are incredibly proud of our innovators who are working tirelessly to make Kayamandi a Smart Township. Stellenbosch is regarded as the tech central, therefore it is amazing to see all the wonderful ideas that these young innovators are bringing forward to uplift and sustain the community.”
Kayamandi is set to become South Africa’s first Smart Township – a community empowered by innovation, where a combination of high- and low-tech solutions play a pivotal role in redressing digital inequality, enabling greater social and economic inclusion, and fostering urban resilience for future generations. As the demand for more innovative solutions to make Stellenbosch a better municipality with Smart Townships grows, Stellenbosch Network will announce the next edition of the #IdeasForChange challenge in the coming months.
About Stellenbosch Network
Stellenbosch Network is a cross-sector and inter-disciplinary membership organisation that brings people together from industry, government, society, and academia with the aim of sharing ideas, fostering connections, and encouraging collaboration and partnership for inclusive economic growth in the greater Stellenbosch area.
For more information, go to https://www.stellenboschnetwork.co.za/