Cold showers. Never was a fan of them, the exact opposite I would say. I belong to the part of the world that likes to shower with water hot enough to turn your skin vivid red. See, myself, I have that choice. I can shower with hot water and drink cold, fresh tap water from my kitchen whenever I feel like it.
Thamsanqa used the one thing I always took for granted to create a positive impact. Overwhelmed by the fact that as a junior he had to shower last, when there was no more hot water left to use, he and his friend, Bokamoso, decided they’d had enough. "I realized this when I found out how something as basic as a shower is still seen as a luxury by most people in my country, and Africa as a whole. 82% of Africans interchangeably use other methods such as a kettle and bucket to heat up their water for personal hygiene purposes", and that was how Hot Nozzle (a battery-powered portable showerhead attachment that heats up cold water, without the need of electricity) was born, when Thamsanqa was no more than 15.
"Of course there were a lot of instances where people discriminated against us because of our age, but we looked past that and let our work and product speak for us", Thamsanqa said to me. They did not have the experience and know-how to create a product like Hot Nozzle, but what they did have was passion and the support from their surroundings. Friends, family, teachers and an advisory board stood by their side, making up for their lack of experience and guiding Thamsanqa and Bokamoso on their journey to becoming Young Impact Makers (“YIMs”). "Teamwork is very important especially when you’re running a startup. Having people that complement your skills and shortfalls will help a lot."
When I asked Thamsanqa about what role education played in his journey, if it did at all, he said, "Education to me is the acquisition of knowledge and skills both from school, university and as well as from experience. As someone who dropped out of university for a while and then went back to finish, I definitely believe the school system played a role. Although most of my learning has occurred outside of the classroom, the school system has been fueling my inquisitiveness, which is one of my biggest strengths. It also has helped me meet amazing people who have been instrumental in my journey." I plan to hold on to his answer and compare it to the experiences of other YIMS around the world. An education system tailor-made to empower each kid to live up to their highest potential and true self? This is the goal!
Every individual is often hiding within themselves a potential impact maker. Some of us trigger ours at an early age, while others' are awakened later in life by the experiences they have at school, work, with family or even while travelling to interact with other cultures and civilizations. Thamsanqa's advice for waking up the impact maker in you is to "not lose focus of the people you want to bring value to. They are at the center of everything you do. Empathize, collaborate with and learn from them and you will deliver impact," and that truly touched me. Because what is the reason of enabling impact around the world, if not to bring positive change into the lives of people you care for, the planet you live in and the animals who co-exist with us on this planet we call home?
For this exact reason, Thamsanqa is now working on Hot Nozzle and scaling it across developing nations. His next steps will be within the water space, where he'd like to combine his passions, namely infrastructure development, manufacturing and technology. And I? I will continue writing to you about all the Young Impact Makers I will come across in my own journey. The journey of inspiring the youth to come closer to themselves, explore, and believe.