Aluwaine Manyonga delivered his presentation, Offgrid Solar Lighting and Chigubhu Lantern, Africa’s Education System Game Changer, during the LuxLive Digital Festival 2020. For the first time ever, the SLL Young Lighter final was held online, with all four finalists delivering their presentations virtually to an international audience.

His proposal not only supports the introduction of solar powered lighting systems but seeks to tackle plastic and electronic waste through re-use, with the ingenious Chigubhu Lantern. Aluwaine’s presentation clearly outlines the resources required, set up and ongoing maintenance in with a methodical and informed approach.

Within his concept, Aluwaine sought to provide a viable off-grid solar lighting solution for education in Africa. 600 million people are without electricity in Africa, with 1 in 3 primary schools affected. Aluwaine’s project seeks to utilise competitive pricing of solar powered solutions, developing a clean and reliable light source to positively impact the education system.

Many people living in rural communities, without access to electricity will use kerosene as there their primary light source. The use of kerosene contributes 270,000 tons of black carbon emissions every year. As well as the increased risk of fires, the use of kerosene contributes to lung disease, asthma, and an increased risk of cancer.

Within his presentation, Aluwaine recognised the waste generated with some of the current LED lighting solutions that have been introduced in the continent. He highlights driver failure as a result of poor-quality components, inefficient heat sink design and poor capacitor construction leading to the improper disposal of LED luminaires before the end of the chips expected life span.

Aluwaine proposes an off-grid, solar, DC powered system. The system set up consists of solar panels, DC LED luminaires, charge controllers, batteries and charging points (5V and 12V) for charging individual Chigubhu Lanterns. Students and teachers would be taught the basics of setting up and maintaining the system. USB charging points can be used for individual Chigubhu Lanterns and other devices. There will also be collection points for electronic waste such as LED lamps, rechargeable torches, power banks and cell phone batteries. The community will be trained in re-using this waste to make the Chigubhu Lanterns.

Chigubhu is a Shona word for plastic container/water bottle and the idea behind this concept is based on plastic and electronic waste recycling. Whilst seeking to introduce solar lighting systems for school buildings, Aluwaine’s project also proposes a means of re-using plastic and electronic waste, providing students and communities with transportable, safe light sources. To minimise the cost and maintenance of individual lanterns, they can be recharged at school or any of the central points forming part of the solar lighting system. The concept is designed to support and work alongside existing initiatives for introducing solar lighting kits across Africa.

The judges were impressed by the quality of entries from the initial entry stage, maintaining an exceedingly high standard throughout the competition. All the finalists received a cash prize, along with a year’s free membership of the Society. Ruth Kelly Waskett, SLL President Elect and a member of the 2020 judging panel remarked;

“The judges were all very impressed by the social value of Aluwaine’s project. We thought he showed immense initiative, as well as technical know-how, using limited resources to create something that will improve the lives of a huge number of people in areas with insecure electricity networks. Aluwaine’s work reminds us how lighting can make the world a better place.”

2020 marks the 26th annual SLL Young Lighter competition and the first time the finals have been held online, as part of the LuxLive Digital Festival. Open to anyone with an interest in light and lighting, the competition is designed to test not just the finalists’ ability to develop a lighting project, but also their presentation skills.

The competition provides a unique platform for young lighters and is open for all to enter, allowing entrants to illustrate their knowledge and research on a lighting subject, hone their presentation skills, and raise their profile within the industry.

Previous winners include, Seda Kacel, Christopher Knowlton, Sabine De Schutter, Rachael Nicholls, Janna Aronson, Youmna Abdallah, Sofia Tolia, Matt Hanbury, Emma Beadle and the 2019 Young Lighter, Anna Wawrzyniak.

If you would like more information about the SLL Young Lighter competition and how to enter in 2021, please contact

May 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide