- Jul 5, 2009
Millions of people have bought JoJo tanks (or their equivalents), but how many know the history of where they were developed: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-09-19-jojo-tanks-rises-above-the-surface-in-an-era-of-water-trauma/
All over South Africa, you now see JoJo water tanks. Behind this tank infestation lies an amazing story of entrepreneurship. But the company is changing too, buying another home-grown brand, a wastewater and sanitation company. And there is a story behind that too – a story of how water management may become one of the major issues of the world’s future.
What makes JoJo tanks unusual is the rotational moulding system which permits the manufacture of large plastic tanks very cheaply. The system was discovered in the 1970s in Groblersdal, Limpopo, when lucerne farmer Johannes Joubert (hence JoJo) discovered the method in order to make a better system of storing and using rainwater.
The raw materials come from Sasol and are a by-product of Sasol’s synthetic fuel manufacturing system, demonstrating how small companies are often dependent on larger companies operating in different ecosystems.
The business was trotting along in a modest fashion for years. Then the Cape Town “Day Zero” water crisis happened. The company went massively into overdrive in an attempt to keep up with demand, even running out of raw materials at one point. JoJo is one of the few companies that must be a just a touch sad to see the crisis wane.