Ubuntu Building Solutions is about turning disruption and change into opportunity and advantage for those amongst the 1,341 billion inhabitants of Africa who were somehow left behind when the good ship “Technology” sailed from the harbor at the end of the Industrial Revolution. Those left behind due to their geographical location and the isolationist policies of world and business leaders at the time have suddenly become relevant again due to their sheer numbers. Call it “Take Two!”

Opportunity beckons in the Third World. The First World has launched itself headlong into a tech-fueled future, and now, with the power of hindsight, there is a second bite at the cherry that is the Third World, destined to forever play catch-up in the wake of the bus disappearing into the future. Fortunately, the world has “been there and done that.” We do not have to re-invent the wheel. We simply need to apply the lessons learnt.

I have done exactly that in designing the unique Empowerblox Building Block and the Ubuntu Building System. They are products for Africa, from Africa, in the true spirit of Ubuntu. Nobel Prize winner and former president of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, describes Ubuntu as a philosophy constituting a universal truth, a way of life, which underpins an open society. (Mandela, 2006:xxv).

The Ubuntu philosophy does not mean that people should not address themselves to a problem, but it does imply that they should look at whether what they are doing will enable or empower the community around them and help it improve. The Ubuntu philosophy also implies that if people are treated well, they are likely to perform better.

A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. (Tutu, 2004:25).

In the same way, the Empowerblox building block is not a block. It is created to be a form of permanent shuttering to accept steel re-enforcing bars and ready mixed concrete into its cavities after being built into a wall to ensure the structural integrity of the structure, like a skeleton. This allows for “white boxes” to be built, compatible with any roof design, providing superior thermal insulation, fireproof qualities and other desirable properties while requiring no skill to manufacture or build with due to the repurposing of advanced scientific manufacturing processes and materials. The plastic injection moulding process is used to create unique recycled polypropylene plastic moulds to hand-cast ready mixed concrete into to make the blocks. This promotes job creation (need = 134 million jobs) and allows the incorporation of unrecyclable plastics into the concrete mix, helping to rid the First World of some of its most lethal by-product―non-biodegradable plastic in our oceans. 

Did you know…

The Ellen Macarthur Foundation warns― by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea unless we act and do something about it…

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the housing shortage is 150 million units. In 2050 it will be 360 million units, unless we do something about it…

Africa has a population of 1.341 billion which grows at a rate of 33,525 million p.a. and more than 100 million are unemployed of which 60% are youths. We must do something about it― now!


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