Bandile Dlabantu, 35, has always been fascinated by the natural world. As a child growing up in Port Elizabeth he was a big fan of David Attenborough.
As he grew older, his interest began to focus on the relationship between insects and animals, and forensic entomology. He studied for a BSc in entomology and microbiology, worked for a while, then in 2014 he started his company, Khepri Innovations, aiming to provide sustainable solutions for the animal farming industry.
South African abattoirs are usually situated near poor communities, where the run-off pollutes the surrounding land and water. At Khepri’s bioconversion site in Gauteng, insects are used to process abattoir waste (blood, off-cuts and faeces) into compost and protein-rich animal feed, or entoprotein.
This offers an alternative to soya and fishmeal animal feeds, which are often obtained unsustainably through deforestation and overfishing. Khepri, which was named SAB’s Social Innovation Idea of 2015, currently produces one tonne of entoprotein annually, but, within two years Dlabantu plans to be producing seven tonnes and operating around South Africa and the Southern African Development Community.
Dlabantu also channels his love of nature into poetry, which has been published in anthologies such as For the Rhino in a Shrinking World.
Find Dlabantu on Twitter: @BandileDLABANTU