Monni Mokwena has invented a toilet that uses just half a litre of water to flush away waste. 
 Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)
Monni Mokwena, 25, is an unconventional disruptor. Born and bred in Bakenberg, Limpopo, a village with no running water, she grew up carrying buckets of water from the river on her head and using a pit-latrine.

Yet that didn’t stop her from leading a team of plumbers to create a toilet that uses less than half a litre to flush waste.

The apprentice plumber was still overwhelmed by her overnight success after her invention, the Swallowing toilet, won the regional leg of a national entrepreneurship competition.

She got into plumbing by default after joining Bashomi Trading & Projects, a building maintenance company that specialises in plumbing and electrical maintenance around Pretoria, as an office administrator.

The tenants from buildings serviced by her company complained of high water bills, forcing the team of plumbers to find solutions to the problem.

“As plumbers, we spent nights and days researching ways of reducing water used in toilets during flushes. The very first flushing toilet was designed over 420 years ago and is still used to this day,” explained Mokwena, adding that it takes 10 litres to flush an ordinary toilet and that people flush more than once before waste disappears.

Using just 400ml to flush, the Swallowing toilet is believed to be a game-changer.

“Water scarcity is a huge problem worldwide. Our invention is going to change people’s lives in a positive way. It will be used in impoverished areas where there isn’t sufficient water. Service delivery of water is also very poor in our country, so this invention will help communities,” she explained.

Mokwena, who impressed the judges of the Engen Pitch & Polish competition, admitted there was still a long way to go before her invention could be found in every household and that they were still looking for investors to support its mass-manufacture.

“We need funds in order to afford factory space to manufacture our product. We strongly believe the Swallowing toilet will help to create jobs in our country, afford people skills and also assist government with service delivery,” she said.

The Sunday Independent