Young change-makers lead the way to clean energy transition in Africa
EEP Africa, a trust fund hosted and managed by NDF, awards on a yearly basis youth leading clean energy transition in Africa with the Rising Energy Leader Award. The 2022 winners were Rethabile Mafura and Felix Boldt.
“As a child, I remember walking long distances to school and collecting firewood both for school and home, to keep them warm but also to be able to prepare meals. These were all done by burning wood. You could see clouds of smoke coming out of the small house’s doors and windows. The indoor air was unbearable. Many got tuberculosis,” says Rethabile Mafura, Director of ACE Lesotho, one of the winners.
She was awarded for her work, leadership skills and provision of inclusive employment opportunities. She has demonstrated leadership skills in steering and growing the company in a small nascent clean energy market, which she originally applied to because of her drive to make an impact. “The company had not only provided a solution to the indoor pollution, but it also provided energy access. It resonated so well with me as a person and my values. I thought, this is huge, and I want to be a part of this change,” says Rethabile about her journey.
She is a strong advocate for gender equality, and has promoted many qualified women to senior management positions in the company. Several have continued their career path to other companies in Director positions, which makes her very proud. “When you give people the opportunity to grow, they learn that anything is possible, and they can become whatever they want.”
The other award went to Felix Boldt, founder of Solarworx, a manufacturer that provides innovative, reliable, affordable and sustainable clean energy to local partners in Africa. It is operating 5,000 solar systems and addressing over 25,000 people’s lack of energy across the continent.“We have been investing so much time and effort, both on the development side but also on the ground, so it feels good to get the recognition. We are seen and heard, so someone actually cares for what we do,” says Felix.