MEET 25-YEAR-OLD Siyabulela Xuza, South Africa’s youngest innovator who is on a mission to make energy more affordable.
Siyabulela (Siya) is an energy-engineering Harvard University graduate with a passion for harnessing the power of the sun for clean affordable energy.
He conducted research geared towards making cheaper solar cells and assesses the commercial viability of solar technologies.
Siya says: “I was chasing the roar of a Cessna plane dropping election pamphlets over Mthatha, my South African township. It was 1994, the first year of a new democracy in my country and the sight of that technological marvel ignited in me a curiosity for science and a passion for using technology to engineer an African renaissance.”
A born innovator, Siya began experimenting with rocket fuels in his mother’s kitchen. This passion turned into a serious science project that culminated in him developing a cheaper and safer rocket fuel.
In 2010 he was elected as a fellow of the African Leadership Network, a premier network of those individuals poised to shape Africa’s future over the next 10-20 years, consisting of the most dynamic, influential and successful leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa and its Diaspora. He travelled to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to engage in discussions on creating prosperity for Africa.
Siya says: “I may not be able to predict what the future holds. But I am excited at how my engineering education will enable me to achieve my aspirations for Africa. My Mother told me that even if a planet is named after you…You should always remain down to earth.”
Siya recently became the youngest member of the African Union affiliated Africa 2.0 energy advisory panel. He was invited to Mombasa, Kenya to assist in finding sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing economic and social issues facing Africans today.