16 Social Innovators You Need To Know About

The second Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is happening now in South Africa. The ten day academy brings together budding social entrepreneurs from around the country, and offers them mentorship and workshops with some of the best international and local social innovators and experts.

Forward the future.

Cleopatra Simelane

Don’t tell Cleopatra Simelane print is dead. The Soweto-based actress and social entrepreneur is the founder of Recess Magazine: an edutainment magazine targeted at high school learners aged 15 to 20, and entirely produced by the students. Recess is freely available and distributed to 10 000 young people over 200 schools.

Brian Mokhachane

Brian Mokhachane is making things of beauty from discarded items. He runs a project called SoulArt Foundation that turns waste into art. The Joburg-based artist sees art as a medium for tackling society’s biggest issues. He wants to grow SoulArt into a community art academy in communities across the continent.

Related project
SOULART FOUNDATION
SOULART FOUNDATION

SOULART FOUNDATION is a youth skills development project that creates multi-discipline art from discarded materials.

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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.

Related project
Lady Liberty SA
Lady Liberty SA

A mobile legal office traveling to margenalised communities providing pro bono legal information & services to women.

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Philasande Bongo

“I always look at problems and try to change them into opportunities,” says Johannesburg-based Philasande Bongo. In response to the country’s current energy crisis, he is setting up a project that uses solar fields placed on shopping centre roofs to provide electricity for surrounding communities. He thinks he might have a solution for a reliable source of power during electricity outages.

Related project
Kamva Energy
Kamva Energy

Providing renewable, sustainable but affordable energy at community level, for the African continent

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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.

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Sibahle
Sibahle

A social enterprise that seeks to cultivate positive African narratives through creative mediums.

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Wandisile 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.

Related project
18 Gangster Museum
18 Gangster Museum

A creative and innovative alternative in curbing gangsterism

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Thabang Mabapa

Don’t let Thabang Mabapa’s age fool you. At 23 he’s already doing big things. The Soweto raised (but Limpopo-based) PR graduate is the founder of Selokong sa Dimelana: a project that uses castor oil and castor cake as an alternative to fossil fuel. This forward-thinking entrepreneur has a 10-year business plan to ensure its success.

Related project
Selokong Sa Dimelana
Selokong Sa Dimelana

We are focused on the farming and processing of castor oil and castor cake for biodiesel purposes .

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Bushera Bashir

Johannesburg-based Bushera Bashir is the founder of Trebene: an ethical fashion label that produces handcrafted, luxury Cashmere scarves. The scarves are designed in South Africa and manufactured in Kashmir, South Asia, and a portion of the revenue generated goes towards the education of the scarve-weavers children.

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TREBENE
TREBENE

Ethical luxury label of cashmere scarves from Kashmir.

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Glenda Ramathavha

Baking company Glenz Cakes is the brainchild of Midrand-based entrepreneur, Glenda Ramathavha. It teaches young people and women how to bake and connects them with potential clients. Glenda, who currently works as a financial manager, wants to focus on her project full time.

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Glenzcakes
Glenzcakes

We make and sell cakes, bread and bricks and also teach the community to do the same

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Dumisani Msweli

Umlazi-based Dumisani Msweli is an eco-entrepreneur who wants to “green the planet”. His idea is to plant fruit trees outside township homes. The homeowners will sell the fruit to him and he will, in turn, sell the produce to organic markets and juice makers. It’s his way of creating employment while contributing to the environment’s well-being.

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Ibala Organics
Ibala Organics

Manufacture juice from trees in private township gardens.

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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.

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EcoBrick Exchange
EcoBrick Exchange

An environmental awareness enterprise that facilitates the construction of preschools.

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Siviwe Mbinda is the founder of Happy Feet: a youth-focused dance project based in Langa, Cape Town. The project teaches children how to dance and secures performances for them at special events. But it’s about more than just dance. The children also receive meals, educational bursaries and donations as well as life skills to teach discipline and hard work.

Related project
Happy Feet Youth Project
Happy Feet Youth Project

Is an after school program that focuses on dance, nutrition & teaches STEM subjects to local children.

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Lukholo Funde

Lukholo Funde wants to use chemistry to change the world. The Port Elizabeth-based changemaker is setting up a project that will turn used cooking oil into biodiesel. The project is still in its concept stage, but Lukholo has a team and the expertise to turn it into a reality.

Related project
Sytrus Energy
Sytrus Energy

We produce biodiesel from Waste Vegetable Oil and use it to generate electricity.

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Zuko Mandlakazi

Zuko Mandlakazi wants to break down the communication barrier for deaf people. His company produces a device that makes deaf people manage daily life easier. It picks up sound, which it then converts to vibrations and LED light signals.

Related project
Senso
Senso

Connecting deaf with hearing communities by detecting sounds that are essential in daily life.

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Vari Mureriwa

Vari is a Johannesburg-based changemaker with a passion for science and technology. She’s the co-founder of P-STEM Foundation: an NGO that promotes science, technology, engineering and maths as a way of dealing with youth unemployment. She recently left a job at a top consulting firm to focus fully on P-STEM.

Related project
THE P-STEM FOUNDATION
THE P-STEM FOUNDATION

Promoting STEM education and careers in southern Africa

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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.

Related project
AEON POWER BAG
AEON POWER BAG

The project supplies wireless energy for mobile devices remotely from ambient signals through the AEON Power Bag.

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