FleetWatch just loves this story and yes, I know some of our readers will say what has this to do with transport. Well, everything in fact.
It was back in 1994 that South Africa held its first democratic elections. To get a handle on how the various political parties viewed transport, we went out and interviewed all the parties that were standing in those elections. There were 19 of them. The recent 2019 elections had 48 parties standing. Eieeesh!
Anyway, back in 1994, only three of the 19 had given any consideration to trucking and transport. The first was the National Party (NP) – which obviously had a policy in place as they had ruled as the government for many years. Then there was the African National Congress (ANC) which had a Transport Discussion Document in place. The third was the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) which, surprisingly, had a full transport policy in place.
It was from the PAC’s policy that I learnt something I have never forgotten. They started at the bottom – with head-borne transport. It then moved up through the various transport modes such as wheelbarrow, bicycle, motorbike, bakkie and eventually up to the bigger trucks. To this day, when I see someone carrying wood or a bucket on their heads, I think back to that policy and salute that person for being a transporter. Which brings us to the current story.
Khululekile ‘Wilson’ Moko is a Walmer Township man who makes a living from selling waste who, up to now, has used a cumbersome make-shift cart to haul his goods. We’ve all seen them around the country – those little carts with wobbly wheels packed high with waste being pulled by probably the hardest working guys in this country.
Well, Moko is putting aide his 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,” says 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 used 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,” says 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,” says 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.
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,” says Johnson.
What Isuzu didn’t perhaps realize when donating waste material for Moko’s new waste bike, is that they were just extending downwards their offerings in the transport field. Yay!