Waste becomes resource of hope in Walmer

2019-06-12 06:02
Khululekile Wilson Moko tries out his new mode of transport.                           Photo:SUPPLIED

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

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AN innovative new bike has been designed and built for a Walmer Township man, Khululekile ‘Wilson’ Moko, who makes a living from selling waste.

Moko will soon swap his cumbersome makeshift cart for a uniquely designed, functional waste-bike, which was built from waste material donated by Isuzu Motors SA.

“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, a social entrepreneur, innovator and architect.

Kimwelle has made a name for himself by turning waste into functional buildings. These structures are then utilised to the benefit of underprivileged communities.

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.

Last year 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 preschool was constructed using approximately 2 500 discarded wine bottles, while other walls were built with wooden pallets, a concept he carries forward to other community projects.

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