From beauty queen to business woman, Rumbi Zindi from Hartbeespoort has her eyes set on one goal, to make rural children’s lives easier with a solar device that will enable them to use technology in areas without electricity.
The 27-year-old Rumbi, a former Miss Earth finalist, and three friends have developed a backpack with which smart devices can be charged and she hopes to bring positive change in the lives of many underprivileged children.
“It was during my time as a Miss Earth finalist and visits to schools that I realised how difficult these children’s lives were. The education department had just introduced e-education and the students were issued with tablets but they did not know how to use them and didn’t have electricity in their homes to charge the devices. This really bothered me and stayed with me until I finished my studies,” says Rumbi, who majored in sociology and business management.
“It is extremely difficult for young entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.”
“After my studies, it was difficult to find work, as with most students these days. Fellow students and I were talking about starting a business and I told them about my idea to make these kids’ lives easier. Our company Power Saki Tech and solar backpack was born! We wanted to create something truly South African-made, as well as jobs for other young people like us, struggling to find work.”
The four friends started a small factory, they designed and made their first batch of bags themselves and entered their product in the Green Indaba competition. “We did not win. But we were in the top 10 and we were thrilled. And then we got through to the second round of the African Entrepreneurship Awards. It sustained my belief in our product at a time when I was ready to give up. It is extremely difficult for young entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. Everybody talks about how young people should be entrepreneurs but there is no support out there. We are trying to uplift and help children in rural communities, but there seems to be no authority or structure to assist us in doing this. I approached the mayor of the local municipality and other possible stakeholders, but to no avail. But we won’t give up. This is worth fighting for, for the children and for other young entrepreneurs.”
Up until now the four friends have been funding the initiative themselves by holding down second jobs. “It has been trial and error so far but we are finally at a point where we have expanded the products to a school range, a corporate range for laptops etc, and a millennial range for campers, hikers and cyclists. Our aim is to get people to increasingly use renewable energy.”
The bags are made of recycled material and synthetic leather with a distinct African design to enhance the solar panel.
“I am so blessed to have a supportive family behind me that believes in me. An entrepreneur shouldn’t struggle so much. Our biggest problem is that the children and people who need these bags, cannot afford them. We are looking for investors to help us to help these children, be it government or corporate companies involved with social upliftment. How can our children have a future if they are not provided with the tools to prepare them for that future?”
She is confident that the right opportunity will present itself. “And once the bag is on its way, my next goal is to assist entrepreneurs like ourselves, to guide them and make them aware of the pitfalls. After our struggle, we should be able to teach them what to avoid, she laughs.
Follow Rumbi on Instagram and Facebook: PowerSaki Tech or contact her on 073 381 8538