Durban — Sfundo Gcaba, 24, who co-founded an LED lights company with his three cousins, is ecstatic to have been nominated for the Founder of the Year Awards Africa (Foya).
“I am very humbled to be nominated by such progressive awards. The work we do as a youth-led organisation is finally recognised. We are in the business of brightening the future of Africa through our innovative lighting systems,” he said.
He said the recognition helped inspire entrepreneurs.
Gcaba, 24, spoke about how far he and his cousins, whom he regards as his brothers, have come in their journey to creating a legacy of their own in the energy sector.
His cousins, brothers Mthobisi, 26, and Lindokuhle Khuzwayo, 26, and Andile Ntombela, 29, grew up in the same home in Nkandla, then Ndwedwe, and were raised by their grandmother, Nyundela Shezi.
“We grew up in a very dark place where we would use two candles for the whole week. We would wake up every weekday at 4am to make a fire to boil water to bath and to get coal to iron our uniforms. We would have mealie bread for breakfast.”
It would then take them a one-and-a-half-hour walk to get to school.
“In Grade 3, I moved to a multiracial school after the passing of our grandmother. I had to repeat the grade as I was unable to speak and write in English as a medium of communication," said Gcaba.
Gcaba said that in 2019, he was inspired to start working on something that would help Africa’s development and shine light where there was darkness. Their childhood had inspired them to get into the energy sector.
He and his brothers started a light bulb business, Litebruim. It sells LED lights that have an internal battery back-up system that automatically activates in less than a second when there is load shedding or power cuts.
“We’ve been working closely with Innovative Durban (Tendai Pasipamire) and TIKZN (Queen Mkhize and Nisaar Mohammed). Without their support, we wouldn’t have been recognised in the southern hemisphere,” he said.
Gcaba said there had been demand for the bulbs because the energy crisis also affected a pupil’s ability to study.
“The energy crisis undermines SA’s investment potential. Together with my brothers, who are also my partners, we have been promoting entrepreneurship.”
He said he hoped the government would play a proactive role in small and medium enterprises and in society.
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