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Pan-African philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa has completed a 100kW solar power project at Ndolwane in Bulilima district, through his ‘Re-Imagine Rural’ initiative.

Masiyiwa broke the news on his Facebook blog, where he stated: “There is a place in rural Zimbabwe called Ndolwane. It is in a part of the country known as Matabeleland. We chose it as the first site of our ‘Re-Imagine Rural Ugesi Minigrids’.

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“We built a 100kW solar power plant at its small business centre. It now provides power to 70 small businesses, residents and other activities.

According to Masiyiwa, some are using the power to irrigate market gardens to sell vegetables, while others are “planning to do a major poultry business using its power. We are expanding its power line grid to eventually reach a 10km radius”.

Masiyiwa continued: “We have just bought our own water drilling rig and as soon as it arrives we plan to drill deep well boreholes in places like Ndolwane, where it is dry. It will help communities with market gardening and water for their cattle.”

Ugesi Minigrids has 10 other sites being built around the country. The aim of the organisation is to transform rural communities with cost-effective, reliable solar power.

“This is my vision of how rural Africa can be Re-Imagined. My vision has drawn a lot of interest outside Zimbabwe.

“Several global philanthropists have asked for presentations on how this model can be used in other African countries. This really excites me,” said Masiyiwa.

“Even with the pandemic, we are still Re-Imagining. It might slow us down, but it will never stop us.”

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