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Dry Baths: the future of hygiene

Interviewing Ludwick Marishane turned up a few surprises but even more so is the fact that environmental entrepreneurs are taking the world by storm.

Interviewing this whizz inventor turned up a few surprises but even more so is the fact that environmental entrepreneurs are really taking the world by storm (climate change pun intended).

In the case of young people calling the shots, Ludwick Marishane, a sought-after young entrepreneur, whose popularity has grown since winning the 2011 Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year award, has invented an entirely futuristic solution for the world’s water shortage problem: DRY BATHS.

He realised that as the beginning of 2016 approached it was time to make ambitious New Year Resolutions and that the usual cycle of not achieving them would repeat itself.

But on the less conceited side of things, one of our most important, natural, and basic resources was running out and our thinking changed. The idea that water does not come from a tap became obvious.

With water shortages around the country intensifying, we knew that as South Africans we’d have to do more to conserve our water resources.

Tightening taps here, fixing leaks there, and starting to capture as much rain water as possible… we all became active citizens and did our bit to save water, especially with talks of prosecuting for wasting, which would be unrealistic given that a number of South Africans have no access to water to begin with.

Following a standing ovation after his presentation at WWF’s Living Planet Conference in 2016, we asked him some questions so that we can get a broader sense of the man who uses innovation to change the world.

Selaelo Mannya: Innovatively speaking, how would you describe DryBath to someone?
Ludwick Marishane: DryBath is a bath-substituting gel, designed to replace the need for soap, water and skin lotion. DryBath provides its users with a fun and convenient alternative to traditional bathing and showering, a precious tool for helping people to lower the excessive water use that is leading to a looming global water crisis.

SM: Your community is a key influence behind the product. What is your company’s social goal?
LM: As it stands, there are almost two billion people in theworld without adequate access to water and sanitation, all while people in urban societies consume an average of 80 litres of water every time they bathe or shower. It is our goal for DryBath, and other products like it, to change the way society practices personal hygiene, and to provide cheap personal hygiene alternatives to the poor. We know we cannot do this on our own, and we request any and all the help that anyone can provide.

SM: What motivates you?
LM: Seeking to understand the universal truth in the universe and my experience of life in it. This is done by thinking, learning, and experimenting skillfully with focus.

SM: Which entrepreneurs do you most admire?
LM: I admire the everyday entrepreneurs – those who sell fruits from their stall at the corner, have a great barbershop/salon, use their car as a taxi cab, etc. They don’t do it for any glory or adoration, they just wake up every day to get the job done while still dealing with the risk of not breaking even each month.

SM: What three pieces of advice would you give to students who want to become entrepreneurs?
LM: Don’t do it because you want to be your own boss. Try to avoid doing it on your own. Only do it when you’ve found a problem that you would spend all your Friday nights trying to solve, remembering that it’s just an experiment and might not make money.

SM: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
LM: I would’ve studied a science, engineering or philosophy degree instead of commerce. Your formal education should be focused on learning critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

SM: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
LM: Letting go of old habits (especially bad ones). I think/meditate on them intensely to understand their root cause, then I remedy my lifestyle to remove the anxiety (often a slow process).

SM: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
LM: Self-discipline, reflection/meditation, a great market opportunity, networks, skills, funding, and the remaining 90% is timing and luck.

SM: Who is Ludwick the friend/lover/son/brother/cousin? Can he be separated from the entrepreneur?
LM: Ludwick is a mindful human, husband, brother, son, and friend. He cannot be separated from the entrepreneur.

SM: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
LM: Franz Fanon or The Buddha... I like how they think

SM: What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
LM: Devising strategies and hunting for sales.

SM: In a phrase, characterise your life as an entrepreneur.
LM: Excitingly chaotic.

SM: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
LM: I think, talk to friends and family, and watch an unhealthy amount of series and movies (a bad habit I’m working on stopping).

SM: Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
LM: An impactfully influential position in solving the problems of hygiene, water and food security, sustainable energy, extreme socio-economic inequality, and outdated religions.
Ludwick Marishane, a sought-after young entrepreneur, invented an entirely futuristic solution for the world’s water shortage problem: DRY BATHS.

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