Thato Kgatlhanye is another shining tech star to come out of South Africa in recent years. Her passion for social change and empowerment is reflected in her landmark product: the solar powered school bag.
At age 18, Kgatlhanye founded Rethaka, literally meaning “we are fellows.” She set out with no concrete business plan in mind, just the idea that she wanted to do something that impacted young people and benefited underprivileged communities. Less than two years later, Repurpose was born.
Kgatlhanye had noticed that many children in South Africa walked to school carrying their books, or using plastic carrier bags. She was concerned that they frequently journeyed along busy roads, often late at night. Her vision was to create a practical book bag for disadvantaged students that could be low-cost and environmentally friendly.