World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 has recognized Shakti Energy’s Safe Township Lighting project which aims to bring safer lighting solutions to off-grid communities who live in informal settlements and rural areas across South Africa.

Shakti Energy, a South African startup that piloted an alternative energy solution in the bid of tackling the rising figure of over 3.4 million households without electric grid, looks for energy entrepreneur from informal settlements.

The company says their solution provides a simple and effective way for off-grid communities to have light.

The startup has launched series of products. The Nuru LED light, which is portable and costs US$8, provides up to 20 hours of light on a full recharge. It is made of rechargeable plastics, durable, ultra-portable with adjustable head-strap, and easy to use. It also uses low-impact rechargeable NiMH batteries with 3 light output settings (low, medium, high).


The first commercially available pedal generator called, NURU POWERCycle is produced from locally available bicycle components and a mounting frame of timber. With 20 minutes of gentle paddling with either the feet or hand at 60RPM, it can recharge 5 Nuru lights and mobile phones.

Shakti Energy intends to distribute its products through township entrepreneurs, who earn money through sales of product and recharging of lights and mobile phones.

In a statement made by chief executive officer (CEO) Vijay Mitha to Disrupt Africa, “Shakti Energy establishes energy entrepreneurs in informal settlements and rural areas that are not connected to the electricity grid to charge portable lights and mobile phones using a pedal powered generator.”

Vijay said the startup planned to establish at least 500 groups of energy entrepreneurs over the next five years, creating jobs for over 2,000 individuals who will earn incomes of between ZAR4,000 (US$350) and ZAR8,000 (US$700) per month.

A recognised project for World Design Capital Cape Town 2014, Shakti Energy is initially piloting its products in the Western Cape before expanding to Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Bolade Popoola Author

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