Sithela created The Bin Clean Project, which employs young people to disinfect dustbins and eliminate health hazards. With the help of solar-powered mobile cinema network Solar Cinema, he also raises awareness about good hygiene practices.
“We reduce the risk of our community coming into contact with germs due to dirty and maggot-infested bins,” he says.
Nkukwana’s created I Am Self-Made, an online platform that aims to improve people’s financial literacy and educate them about Ponzi schemes.
“The aim is to educate people about the get-rich-quick schemes that steal people’s money,” says Nkukwana.
Manuel’s project GrowBox Wholesale Nursery gives people portable containers so that they can grow their own vegetables, no matter how small the space they are living in.
“GrowBox provides ‘land space’ to the communities where it’s needed the most,” says Manuel.
Singh’s Presto Academy is a peer-to-peer learning model that makes high school and tertiary education more accessible and understandable.
“Presto Academy’s mission is to make learning simpler, easier and more engaging for all students,” says Singh.
Hutiri owns a company called Technovera and has developed an automated locker system that dramatically reduces the amount of time patients wait to collect chronic medication.
Mahlatji’s initiative Yakh’iphupha helps schools and communities in the Eastern Cape to partner with other organisations to
offer small-scale job-creation strategies such as computer literacy training, youth leadership and business and development mentorship.
Through his company Sidingulwazi Holdings Co-Operative Limited, Dlamini has created a device inspired by the process of photosynthesis that reduces air pollution.
“I am passionate about saving the planet through waste reduction,” he says.
PhD student Kebalepile owns a company called Kebalepile Technologies and Innovations, and has developed an electronic medical device called Asthma Grid that computes and grades the stages of asthma. It can even predict imminent asthma attacks.
Ndlovu’s project Hustlenomics works with shack dwellers to eradicate and replace their informal housing with a safe and proper structure. He uses young people living in Soweto in the project.
“We upskill people who are new to the building industry, too,” says Ndlovu.
Mampuru’s Kidz Hub is a project that’s created safe and convenient spaces where children from Dobsonville in Soweto can do their homework, assisted by university students.
“I want to give the children in my neighbourhood the chance to fulfil their potential,” says Mampuru.
Mafokoane’s project, Khof & Khuk Bakery, teaches young people, including differently abled young people, how to make a living through baking.
“We show them that we can all use our hands and skills to make a better living,” says Mafokoane.
Applied Sciences founder Mpofu developed a miniature science kit called ChemStart for high school learners. It’s especially useful for the many children who don’t have science labs at their schools.
“ChemStart unleashes a scientist in every learner using it,” says Mpofu.
Zulu’s ZuluGal Retro helps differently abled young people by training them to produce handcrafted purses, cellphone pouches and handbags using upcycled potato chip wrappers, plastic and beads.
“The 10 beneficiaries have been earning a regular income from the sales of their handcrafted pieces since June 2016,” she says.
Mafumo’s project Kusini Water provides rural areas with safe drinking water by using locally sourced macadamia nut shells as a filter.
“Our technology’s provided safe drinking water to over five communities,” says Mafumo
Jacobs’ online platform, Employ Me SA, allows young people looking for jobs to turn their CVs into online videos.
“Have you ever received feedback about a job for which you’ve been declined? I’ve never received any. Part of what I’m trying to do is encourage employers to provide feedback to people,” says Jacobs.
Harris’ company, Sk8 for Gr8, hosts workshops where local designers teach children design skills such as researching, brainstorming, creating and executing.
“This started as a small passion project and it’s now growing – I knew I wanted to have a meaningful influence on the lives of the kids in the neighbourhood,” says Harris.
South Africa’s young people are bursting with ideas, but they are hampered by a lack of resources, contacts and mentors to take these concepts to the next level.
Energy drink company Red Bull started a project in 2014 called Amaphiko, which sets out to identify and develop talented people. While it began by mentoring athletes, musicians and dancers, this year its focus has moved to social entrepreneurs – people with ideas that uplift society in a practical way.
After hundreds of entries, Red Bull picked 16 people for this year’s academy. From May 19 to 28 they’ll be on an intensive residential programme of mentorship, inspiration and practical skills training in Mamelodi. They will then undergo another 18 months of mentor support to further actualise their ideas.
So, how successful has the academy been?
Gavin Wheale, the founder of youth-run publication Live Magazine and engagement agency Livity, is one of the lecturers.
“It [Amaphiko] is a highly personalised journey and it doesn’t necessarily focus on taking businesses through to investment or any financial return. The focus is on the individual and, of course, most importantly, it is only for social entrepreneurs, so social impact is of the highest importance.”
Since its 2014 launch, 64 people have graduated from Amaphiko – about 70% of whom are running businesses with sustainable revenue and social impacts.
“In every story you read about successful entrepreneurs and they will have a story about resilience against the odds. It sounds romantic, but involves a lot of soul-searching and bloody-mindedness to keep going when it feels like the odds are against you,” says Wheale.
For more information about the project, go to amaphiko.redbull.com