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Kayamandi competing to become SA’s first smart township
Kayamandi, a township in South Africa, could become the country’s first smart township, thanks to an ideation competition called the #ideasforchange challenge.
The challenge was created by the Stellenbosch Network and involved stakeholders such as Lunttu, an initiative by Wesley Diphoko, who grew up in Kayamandi and sees technology and digital skills as a way to transform the township into an inclusive micro-economy.
The winners of the #ideasforchange challenge, Chuma Lalendle and Sbahle Mgijima, believe that it will take more than their innovative solution to make Kayamandi a smart township. They won the R20 000 cash prize for their Smart Trolley Recycling solution, which aims to minimise the overflow of landfills and encourage a recycling culture in Kayamandi.
Chuma and Sbahle met at a Smart Kayamandi workshop, hosted by Stellenbosch Network and Lunttu, and with their passion for sustainable community projects, they came up with smart trolley recycling. The trolley will include a power-assist function, to enable efficiency when waste collectors push the waste, and it will have compartments to sort the different types of waste.
Chuma and Sbahle’s solution is designed to formalise the informal system of waste pickers in Kayamandi and create a product that functions independently, making the whole process more pleasant for waste pickers. The project has three beneficiaries: the waste collectors that go into household bins before the municipal waste removal arrives, the households within Kayamandi, and the Stellenbosch Municipality.
The team hopes to incentivise households that adhere to the culture of recycling with electricity units, data, coffee vouchers, and other rewards. However, they are also aware that they must reach milestones to gain the municipality’s buy-in.
“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,” says Sbahle.
“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.”
Chuma and Sbahle’s passion for sustainable community projects has impressed the Stellenbosch Network, which has done exceptional work in spreading the word about their innovative idea to the rest of Stellenbosch. Their next step is to focus on getting funding to further their dream of making Kayamandi a Smart township.
The emergence of smart towns in South Africa represents a significant step forward in the country’s development. With the application of cutting-edge technology and sustainable infrastructure, smart towns have the potential to revolutionise the way people live, work, and interact with their environments.
As urbanisation continues to increase in the country, the growth of smart towns offers a promising solution to the challenges of urban development, including overcrowding, pollution, and resource depletion. With the government’s commitment to investing in smart town projects and the growing interest from private investors, the future of smart towns in South Africa looks bright, and they are poised to play an essential role in the country’s growth and development.
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