Education Ambassadors SA

Murendeni Mafumo: an entrepreneur who’s out to change lives

Born and raised in Venda, Mafumo says his love for science started in high school.

He enjoyed it so much that after matriculating, he decided to study chemistry at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. After finishing his studies, Mafumo was offered an opportunity to go work for the City of Cape Town as a technician. Among other things, he was responsible for water treatment.

In 2012, Mafumo left Cape Town and joined the City of Joburg as a scientist. With millions of South Africans not having access to clean and safe drinking water, Mafumo was inspired to come up with a solution.

Realising that the project would require his full attention, Mafumo decided to quit his job so that he could focus on establishing Kusini Mobile.

Mafumo says it was not an easy decision, but he realised that it was going to be impossible for him start his business while working for the City of Joburg.

“I had no responsibilities, I had no children and I had a great idea, I had a great desire and the only way to test that out was to quit my job. I couldn’t do that if I was still working for the City of Joburg, as that would have been a conflict of interest,” he says.

Kusini Water is a mobile, solar-powered water purification system that uses locally sourced macadamia nut shells and an off-grid power system to provide safe drinking water to rural communities. “We wanted to design a system that would be affordable to roll out and that would use a more sustainable or renewable source, which is why we use a containerised system that uses solar power,” he says.

Not only has the idea proven to be a winner, as it helps purify rain water and cleanse it of 99,99% of bacteria and viruses.

Mafumo plans to partner with entrepreneurs from different regions. “We are taking our container, which produces 2 000 litres, to places where there is a water shortage,” he says.

Mafumo explains that they also assist the entrepreneurs with whom they partner with funding. “We fund 80% of the social franchising and the entrepreneurs have to come up with 20%,” he says.

The franchisee will then make money from selling water to the community.

“The money made from sales is then split between Kusini Water and the franchisee. In the first five years, Kusini takes 60% of the profits and the franchisee takes the rest,” he says.

Mafumo has also partnered up with Red Bull Amaphiko to market the business.

Source: Destiny Man

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