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Waste Becomes a Powerful Resource of Hope in Walmer


Waste Becomes a Powerful Resource of Hope in Walmer

PORT ELIZABETH – AN innovative new bike was designed and built for a Walmer Township man who makes a living from selling waste.

Khululekile “Wilson” Moko will soon swap his cumbersome make-shift cart for a uniquely designed, functional waste-bike which was built from waste material donated by Isuzu Motors South Africa. “We donated an obsolete trolley to him, which was transformed into a modern waste-bike,” said Isuzu Motors South Africa Corporate Communications Manager Gishma Johnson.

The waste-bike was designed and built by Kevin Kimwelle, social entrepreneur, innovator and architect. His social enterprise, Indalo World, was incubated by Propella Business Incubator. He has made a name for himself by turning waste into functional buildings. These structures are then utilised to the benefit of underprivileged communities of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Similarly, Moko, who will benefit from the waste-bike, takes seemingly worthless waste items and trades the recyclable material for food at a local Re-Trade Project in Walmer.

“Re-trading is the only thing that puts food in my mouth. It ensures that I don’t sleep with an empty stomach. This is my way of living: going to the store and trading for food or hiring my cart to the community when they need help,” said Moko.

The Re-Trade Project is a community-based recycling and social empowerment initiative, providing the community with an opportunity to be environmentally responsible while gaining access to food. As an only source of income, waste provides a livelihood for Moko, who lost his job of 17 years and lives in a shack with his wife.

“Social innovation on a community-based level can enable us to empower the less fortunate in our community and uplift them to a better life. It is possibly South Africa’s future in dealing with job creation in a world of diminishing employment,” said Kimwelle.

Thanks to the creative design talents of Kimwelle, Moko’s new waste-bike will be much more efficient and safer compared to his current cart, which he pulls daily along the busy roads of Nelson Mandela Bay.

In 2018 Kimwelle’s Joe Slovo Community Project won The South African Property Owners Association’s Overall Transformational Award as the most transformative project in South Africa. The project used 80% recycled material while creating employment and business opportunity in the community. A wall of the pre-school was constructed using approximately 2500 discarded wine bottles, while other walls were built with wooden pallets, a concept he carries forward to other community projects.

He makes use of an Isuzu truck, courtesy of Isuzu Truck Centre Port Elizabeth, to transport his recycled materials to the latest project that he is working on in Walmer Township – building The Penguin Pre-School, an advanced eco-brick structure while strengthening Re-Trade Project’s green initiative.

As an environmentally conscious manufacturer, Isuzu is committed to waste management programmes and projects that have a positive impact on the local community. “We regard waste as a resource that is able to create secondary and tertiary employment. Approximately 30 people are based at our facilities from different recycling organisations while many others are employed at recycling companies across the city, creating furniture, plastic goods and polystyrene commodities,” said Johnson.

Caption: Khululekile Wilson Moko tries out his new mode of transport.

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