University of JohannesburgTechnological innovations put rural village on the map

Technological innovations put rural village on the map

As a young man, Godfrey Nefolovhodwe walked a 38km round trip to get to high school every day, a journey that took about three hours each way. He usually left home in the dark, and it was almost dark by the time he returned.

Home was the deeply rural village of Gwakwani, a community of just 100 people in South Africa’s far north-eastern corner, near the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. When Godfrey, now 35, was at school, Gwakwani had no running water, electricity, cell phone reception or internet access. Unemployment was high – only one person in the village was formally employed at the time – and money to buy diesel for the borehole pump or paraffin for the lamps in villagers’ homes was scarce.


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