A story of rejuvenating oneself and the community at large

Not many young individuals are inspired to better their communities. Millennials are known for narcissism, and as the generation working to fulfil their gratifications. While this trait identifies most, a few are concerned about environmental sustainability within their communities. The reigning winner of the 2019 Fairlady Santam Rising Star (Social Entrepreneur category), Nondumiso Sibiya is one of the upcoming game-changers who has opted to use her time for meaningful change. She co-founded Diepsloot based start-up Boombadotmobi, and shares insight into her journey of repurposing waste and responsible disposal.  

The name Boobmbadotmobi is made up of three words; ‘Boomba’, a seSwati name for the dung beetle, ‘doti’ translates to rubbish in isiZulu, and ‘Mobi’ refers to the mobility of the process of waste disposal. The significance of a dung beetle to the logo is in the notion that a dung beetle collects dung for their offspring to feed. Boombadotmobi collects waste to reuse and correctly dispose of, thus protecting the environment.

 

 She and business partner Sbusiso Shongwe, are passionate about responsible waste disposal. They both have remarkable memories of growing up in the heart of Diepsloot with not many facilities. Still, well-kept gravel streets meant that at least they could run around playing without being exposed to some of the risk associated with hazardous waste. Nondumiso recalls playing with fish from a nearby stream which has unfortunately turned into a slump, while some play areas have become dumpsites. 

Diepsloot, a once clean township has become one of the most polluted townships in Northern Johannesburg, and this is because trucks from the city and surrounding suburbs dispose of waste in the township. Their passion for changing this sad reality, motivated the pair to do something about the waste.

   The organisation has been open for business from 2017. It has focused their task on collecting garden refuse, building rubble and household waste; all which are used to benefit the community and environment. The organisation has disposed of about 150 tons of construction waste which have been used to rehabilitate over 1,5 kilometres of gravel streets within the area in Diepsloot. Some of the construction waste consists of second-hand bricks and metal roofing material, which the community members repurpose for shelter. 

The garden waste is distributed to farmers and repurposed as composite. And from the household waste different recyclable goods such as plastic, are found and used much innovatively for projects such as eco-braai and eco-trading store. Boomba has been part of recently established projects which are both in collaboration with Roots & Shoots and the Wot-if? Trust – eco-braai and eco-trading store.The eco-braai is an annual event hosted to celebrate Global Recycling Day, and the event brings community members, Wot-if Trust donors, and local entrepreneurs to partake in an ecobrick making masterclass as they enjoy refreshments and entertainment.

 

Ecobricks are traded for points to buy at the eco-trading store. A single brick is made up of a two-litre plastic bottle that is stuffed with plastic bags to produce a mass of 500g which is equivalent to 50 points. Members of the community are also allowed to trade their bricks in exchange for second-hand clothing, non-perishable food or artefacts. Boombadotmobi encourages community residents, individuals and corporates to think about their waste disposal. “If individuals do not account for their waste, our communities will continue to suffer; consequently, the cities will suffer and degenerate. It is no longer a secret, but a harsh reality that we are facing a global challenge as waste is one the contributing factors to the marine pollution crisis,” says Sibiya.

Text: Keitumetse Ngobeni Images:© Matteo Placucci