Rewoven made history on October 25th, 2021, by winning the first Äänit award from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF). It was the recycling of used textiles in South Africa that earned the start-up this distinction, along with a prize of 1.19 million South African rand (about $81,000).
The start-up Rewoven has just received a real boost to expand its activities in South Africa. It’s a 1.19 million South African rand (about $81,000) bonus from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) on October 25, 2021, for its performance in the Äänit award. This is “a complementary offer to MRF’s flagship program, the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. The award is open to former recipients of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship,” says MRF.
Rewoven recycles used textiles into new fabrics that it resells to players in the South African fashion industry. According to the start-up, this has several benefits, namely reducing pollution, cutting CO2 emissions and rationalizing water resources. “Rewoven’s manufacturing process uses 99 percent less water and generates 50 percent less CO2 emissions than normal fabric production processes,” explain Esethu Cenga, the South African start-up’s co-founder and director.
Launching a clothing line made from recycled textiles
Co-founded with Lonwabo Mgoduso and Tshepo Bhengu, the start-up is also providing employment opportunities for young people, especially women who make up the majority of workers in the South African garment industry. With the funding from the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, Rewoven is set to move into high gear. Its long-term vision is to create a clothing line and contribute to more socially and environmentally sustainable lifestyles.
The competition for the first annual Äänit Award lasted approximately four months, from July 1st when applications opened to October 25th, 2021. The Rhodes Mandela Foundation initiative is funded by the Ezrah Charitable Trust, a charitable organization founded by David Cohen, a long-time MRF partner and Rhodes Scholar.