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Innovative Monni Mokwena is the kind of black girl magic we're rooting for

Image:Supplied If you've used a pit toilet or heard about it, well you would know or you can just imagine how hard it is to use it, so this why we are forever crushing on Monni Mokwena for her latest invention as it continues to set tongues wagging. 

The 25-year-old woman from a village called Bakenburg in Limpopo invented a toilet that uses less than half a litre of water, which could be a game-changer in an effort to save water and reduce pit-latrine deaths.

Mokwena now resides in Pretoria after she moved there 6-year-ago. The innovative young woman works as a team leader for Bashomi Trading & Projects.   

Mokwena tells GLAMOUR that her invention was sparked by her passion for plumbing which begun when she noticed that more people were complaining about high water rates in Pretoria which led her to learn plumbing in her spare time. 

She adds that this reminded her of home where they were struggling with proper sanitation. 

She said: “It all started where I grew up…the village called Bakenburg outside Mokopane, Limpopo. So, we were having a problem of water scarcity in my village whereby we sometimes had to fetch water from the river which we shared with the animals and we travelled far to fetch it.  The water was not clean as a result we were exposed to water borne diseases such as cholera, and we also had a poor sanitation, we depended on a pit toilet which is very dangerous for example it attracts flies that cause diseases.

“Remember the availability of water determines which toilet to use, no running water no flushing toilet...then it happened that I relocated from the village to Pretoria... then I found the same problem ‘water scarcity’ found people causing riots or striking for poor service which was water being cut off.” 

Image: Supplied The Limpopo born inventor said after observing the issue, she researched and discovered that the toilet being used today was invented over 400 years ago.

Mokwena said when she studied how the traditional toilet operated, she discovered the reason why it used a lot of water.

“We started doing the research and one of our findings was that 50% of water in the household is for toilet flush. We then investigated the toilet and we noted that the toilet that we are using today was 1st designed in 1596 by Sir John Harrington in England For Queen Elizabeth. 

“We noticed that the toilet has a mountain like or S- shape at the back which was design to prevent the smell going back into the bowl. The S-shape was a best idea at time because water was not a problem and the population was not bad in those years. So, we innovated a toilet called 'Swallowing toilet' that has a flexible S- shape that uses less than a litre per flush and it is once off flush guaranteed,” she adds. 

Image: Supplied Mokwena said the new invention was not yet available for country wide distribution as they have only had a prototype which was being tested in different buildings in Pretoria. 

Mokwena was the regional winner of the Engen Pitch and Polish competition held in Sandton early this month. Mokwena's idea impressed both the audience and a panel of experts who grilled her with questions about her product and pitching skills. 

“I feel honoured. Remember 1000 applicants had applied and I was shortlisted to the top 5 and only to find out later that I have won the competition. I am grateful for Bashomi Trading & Projects for trusting me and sending me there,” said Mokwena. 


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