Chemical Engineering student provides solution to water problems 

Nkululeko drinking purified water. Note the charcoal in the bottle
Nkululeko drinking purified water. Note the charcoal in the bottle

MUT’s drive for students to become entrepreneurs and business owners is taking shape, in a big way. Many students are beginning to seek opportunities to be employers rather than employees, while at the same time providing solutions to problems plaquing the country and the continent. This is the case for third-year Chemical Engineering student, Nkululeko Msomi, owner of The Ki-Agua, a water purifying business in Kingsburgh, south of Amanzimtoti. The name is derived from Japan’s Kishu Binchotan charcoal which is used to purify water.

“We use activated pieces of charcoal from Japan to purify water, mineralise and PH balance tap, borehole, and harvested rain water,” said Nkululeko.  With one charcoal stick, you are able to purify two to three litres of water per circle for over three months. The charcoal not only purifies water, it also softens and improves the taste of tap water.

Msomi is part of the three Chemical Engineering students that started the business. The other two are Khululiwe Yembe and Fundile Maqhekeza. They are also members of Enactus. For now the small purifying business is based in Kingsbugh, south of Amanzimtoti. The business is growing.

“This is just the start for us. We are looking at building the most innovative water purification plant in the near future. We are negotiating deals with big companies in the industry. We will soon be joined by a full-time administrator and brand and communication office. As a business we have allocated a sum of R19 200 to advance the business.”  The company’s driving philosophy is goal six of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Strategy, which says that: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Msomi is using the business skills and exposure he acquired from Enactus for his business. He has been a member of Enactus since his first year. “I learnt how to start a business, solve a problem than to chase profits, as well as how to lead a team. Travelling gave me an opportunity to rub shoulders with global business leaders,” said Msomi. Enactus is about connecting students with international industry leaders. Beyond Enactus Msomi is now involved in UN work like pushing forward the sustainable development goals, particularly goal six, which has to do with clean water for all world communities, irrespective of their backgrounds.

Nkululeko is also a public speaker – MC and keynote speaker. He uses proceeds from these activities to fund the business. He trains incubators that deal with entrepreneurship in Durban.

Click the link below to view the water purification process used at Ki-Agua: