Water.  Can you imagine a world without water?  It’s hard to believe, but that’s where we’re heading.  That is where Africa is heading.  That is where South Africa is heading.  Water and our future are intertwined in some possible doom.  We just can’t lose it.

The world has seen a rise in a global faction of Green-Soldiers, Water-Warriors, Earth-Watchers and Celebrity Environmental Philanthropists. They are the ones who break barriers where they have to, build bridges where they need to and open discourse where there is no other option. This water for life is dissipating, regressing fast into a future where it will be regrettably if not desperately remembered as a luxury rather than a human right. In a country where an equilibrium has yet to be reached when it comes to the availability of food, jobs, security… we need more warriors.  We need warriors who aren’t afraid to make a change if it means pushing back on the status quo, shoving back where old tactics come into play…wrestling with the government, business and ignorance when policies, bureaucracy and blind faith bear down on them.

Enter our next generation of Water Warriors.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with, interviewing and pushing one powerful woman as she strives for the recognition and funding she deserves in the search for cleaner water for South Africans.  She is a young woman who has designed an innovative solution to a complex problem.  Sheree Ann Marinus is a South African woman with a plan.

Photographer: Aimee Remani
Water Warrior: Sheree at the SAB Social Innovation Awards, 2012.

This first year student, driven by the strife she has seen in the overpopulated townships in the Eastern Cape in South Africa (and really, these townships reflect what the majority of South Africans, the poor African communities, are faced with every waking hour) has developed an eco-friendly means to generate clean water for a people who have all but lost hope in the government for even the most basic and important of service deliveries: provision of clean water for all.  Hers is a product called The Ecotyre.

The Ecotyre is a modern take on water filtration for the most rural areas in Southern Africa (and the rest of Africa in danger of becoming barren, drought-ridden lands).  It is a combination of both a water filter as well as an air filter.  It utilises a recycled car tyre (which are found in abundance in streets in townships as litter).  The secondary components are PVC pipes to run through the tyre.  Other components include fine mesh and plastic.  The air filter is a recycled computer fan redesigned to work on rechargeable battery power.  A small solar panel is fitted in as the recharger.  The water filter is at the center of the tyre, compiled from gravel, course and fine sand and charcoal.

As the daughter of a teacher renowned for her community work in and around Port Elizabeth slums, she has seen the face of poverty and has chosen to rise up and do something about it.  This is what is most important today, youth who are not afraid to push back for the right cause.  She is an eco-warrior,  at such a young age.  There can only be better in store for our country with young peers like this.

Video courtesy of SAB Foundation: Social Innovation Awards.  Created by Mark Klein.

Having worked with her in a program where she received a seed grant for her project, to bring to fruition to  the genius behind invention; she gives hope to a future that could be shaded if more warriors don’t arise and take a stand.  In this world, there are three types of activists.  There are those of us who are Money-Warriors, who throw money at any and every problem.  And, then there are those of us who are Pen-Warriors, who guide the awareness of what happens in our world and on paper, we fight for change. Without these other warriors, these activists…what stories would we tell?  What motivation would we convey?  What hope would we put into words for the world to fall in love with?

Women of this world are actively shaping our future — all you have to do is read a few articles right here on Go Girl just to be able to see that.  For me, that’s enough to keep on searching for a better existence for my country.  I’m hoping that everyday our hope can become something tangible, that we can see, smell, touch, taste and hold on to.  My “Woman To Watch” is Sheree Ann Marinus, South Africa’s Water Warrior.

Watch this woman win a war.