Positive Disruption in South Africa: Part 2

By December 9, 2016Prestigio

Defining moments


Critical Mass is defined as 2. an amount necessary or sufficient to have a significant effect or to achieve a result. In South Africa we often see individuals take to the streets to raise their voices to bring attention to an issue affecting them, wanting to be heard and craving change.

Prestigio’s motto is “Potential Unleashed”. Here in South Africa the wealth is in the ‘problems’ that we have yet to creatively solve, and we think individual potential is largely untapped.


Maximizing the Positive

It is exciting to be a part of a dynamic Cause-For-Positive-Change movement. People become aware of “Choice” again. When the potential of positive change gains momentum it enlivens people.

A ‘Social Disruption’ & ‘Entrepreneurial Success’ can both be seen as Innovations. A change in society can be innovative, like-wise, a creative product or service can be innovative. Both require Critical Mass to become a success. Creative Minds with Passion recognise potential where others only see lack. Everyone can be creative in their own way, and everyone can become passionate if they choose so. Unleash Your Potential!

Prepare to be inspired with these three home-grown examples of positive disruption in South Africa.

Ludwick Marishane

Ludwick Marishane is the youngest patent holder in South Africa at seventeen! His invention DryBath is the world’s first bath-substituting lotion.

He tells us that his original idea came out of an afternoon hanging out sunbathing with his friend. While the brainwave may have had humble beginnings, Marishane’s DryBath has the potential to make a massive difference. It can positively impact the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who do not have access to clean water.

DryBath helps out those in need by improving sanitation options in areas where water is scarce or the supply is unreliable or contaminated.

Not only do people get the experience of still getting clean, DryBath tackles disease prevention by effectively killing nasty germs that would otherwise contribute and lead to hygiene-related diseases such as Trachoma. Trachoma alone is the cause of millions of cases of preventable blindness.

Once Marishane had refined his product, he studied up on how to package his product to make it most accessible to the populations that would benefit from it the most. Examining how it was likely to be used by his target market, he decided upon disposable, affordable, and single-use packaging.

Marishane’s ingenuity has won him a Google award naming him as ‘one of the brightest young minds in the world’. He has also done South Africa proudly by becoming the first African to get the Global Student Entrepreneur Award.

DryBath offers hygiene whilst saving water. When DryBath is used in rural areas it can save up to two hours of time that would have been spent, collecting and transporting water. Think of students in rural area having more time to study, the possibilities are expansive and these two hours may prove crucial for a successful future for some.

Not only has Marishane given us a clever usable product, his invention carries a cascade of positive effects for uncountable people. Check out his inspirational TedTalk here which he closes with this call to action “On the gravel roads of Limpopo with an allowance of R50 a week, I came up with a way for the world not to bath. What’s stopping you?”

Did you Know? Marishane used tech for success. He was able to do the following

  • Research his initial idea
  • Build his innovation
  • Come up with product formulas to test
  • Write his patent!
  • Write a 40 page business plan.

All on a cell phone! A testimony to what’s possible using just the tech you have!


Zachie Achmet

“I am optimistic about what we can achieve if we become active citizens…If we work together we can make South Africa a better place.” [ Quote from 21 Icons ]

Zachie Achmet started his life as a disrupter at the young age of 14. He began as a vocal and sometimes violent disrupter who spent time in jail for his protests against the apartheid regime. Shortly after the government switch in 1994 he became interested in making change happen in other ways. He founded the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality. This organization worked diligently to ensure the new constitution was fair and equal. In fact, South Africa’s constitution is still one of the most progressive in the world.

His long career as an advocate was just beginning though and he next created the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

TAC set off to fight ‘business as usual’ that was allowing foreign companies to import only ghastly expensive ‘brand-name’ pharmaceutical drugs making treatment for diseases such as Tuberculosis limited.

Opposition came as the government painted Achmet as a pharmaceutical company puppet, instead of a passionate disrupter working for social justice. Achmet’s long history of speaking out and getting involved hands-on lent legitimacy to the fight of TAC. To prove a point he flew to Thailand and then returned with thousands of prescription pills bought for mere pennies. He effectively demonstrated the lunacy of price gouging being done by drug manufacturers. He was arrested at customs and the media coverage and exposure helped the movement reach critical mass. TAC succeeding in changing policies and led South Africa to open their market to affordable generic prescription drugs.

Using direct non-violent action Zachie Achmet single-handedly disrupted the way business was being done, opening the door to effective and affordable medical treatment to millions of South Africans.

TAC also led the fight against the way in which South Africa was refusing to provide treatment for HIV infected individuals in public health outlets.

Achmet took a personal pledge at the risk of his own life to refuse treatment for his own AIDS diagnosis until the treatment was available to all South African’s who needed it.

Critical Mass on this issue was reached after Nelson Mandela met with Achmet in his home drawing a powerful spotlight to the issue. A direct result of Achmet’s dedication is that Antiretroviral (ARVs) medications now have widespread use in South Africa’s public health system.

Zachie Achmet’s work as a conscientious disrupter has saved thousands of lives, affecting every strata of society, and improved the quality of life and life expectancy for millions more!

Achmet continues to enact positive disruption and is currently working with the Social Justice Coalition to bring clean water and access to sanitation to residents of informal settlements. Here is a short video of Mr Achmet speaking about passion and causing change.

South Africa’s most famous disrupter of all time, Nelson Mandela said this about Achmet’s work “He is a role model, and his action is based on fundamental principle, which we all admire. The admiration for him is not confined only to the Western Cape or South Africa, people far beyond our borders are aware of his principled stand he has taken.”

[ Additional Reference ]


Bheki Kunene

Bheki Kunene’s beginnings were troubled. Following an incident of school violence he was banned from many educational facilities and his youth was riddled with stays in detention. Many people around him wrote him off and figured he would spend his life as a thug and spend more time behind bars.

Not knowing how to change his life, but wanting to rise above the negative, Bheki Kunene’s applied for a scholarship at the Ruth Prowse School of Art.

When the board of directors at the school accepted his scholarship application, it was the opportunity that he needed to change the direction of his life.

He readily agreed to achieve specific grades in exchange for free tuition. This scholarship allowed him the chance to study graphic design, earning a skill that has changed his life forever!

After graduating, at only twenty-one years of age and with the bare bones budget of R600 Bheki Kunene established MindTrix Media, a creative design company.

Bheki Kunene chose to do more and has worked diligently to become a successful entrepreneur.

MindTrix now boasts big name clients in South Africa as well as in five other continents! Kunene was featured in Forbes ‘30 under 30 list’ of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs. He was also given a coveted SMME small business award for “The Best Young Enterprise”. Mr Kunene has chosen to keep MindTrix’s premise in the neighbourhood where he grew up, and has begun a scholar/ learnership partnership to give the gift of learning and opportunity to others in the township where he was once a write-off.

On his success Kunene says “I used to think being a self-made millionaire was success or having a high net-worth but over the years it’s changed into having a balance of abundance in wealth, health and relationships.”

Prestigio, hopes that these stories inspire those in South Africa to realize that positive change can come from less than perfect conditions. You can start with less than you think you need, what is important is that you start, continue with sound reasoning and rise above excuses.

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