Humble man becomes energy champion

Funisile Zothe

Funisile Zothe, a general worker at Three Crowns Junior Secondary School in Lady Frere, Kavali Village in the Eastern Cape, has walked away with the Energy Champion: Community title at Eskom’s 2011 eta Awards. Funisile is the driving force behind the most innovative renewable energy efficiency project in Africa.

The school accommodates around 150 learners and has been involved in this special project to promote a sustainable environment for four years. Some of the initiatives that he has implemented are a biogas facility, waste water treatment, a 2kW wind/solar hybrid system and 12 vermiculture worm farms.

The solar cooker is another technology that Funisile introduced – it has a solar dish and a stand where you can put pots to cook hot meals every day. This is mostly appreciated by the mothers as it saves time and energy.

Mr Zothe also started a biological waste water treatment facility and the waste water is used to water plants. The project was started by collecting drinks bottles and recycling them to build a greenhouse. He also teaches children about these technologies and practices to promote implementation in their homes and other areas. They also grow their own vegetables where they use waste water.

The project has already been implemented in four other communities in the Chris Hani district and it is well suited to expansion and replication. His plan is to continue to have all the schools in the district using these project initiatives.

Funsile has demonstrated commitment and devotion as a trainer and advisor to the school children who in turn propagated the energy saving and sustainable culture into their communities.