Johannesburg is a great place to build. South Africa is the industrial heart of Southern Africa and JHB is where the action is. In the industrial districts it seems every 5th shop is either a laser cutting shop, an engineering firm, a metal supply or a paint store. Throw in the occasional glass shop, custom steel fabrication workshop or oven/catering supply store and we’re more than all set.
We’ve set up our workshop at Zander van Manen’s place. He’s managing director of SunFire Solutions. There’s a garage where we can lock up our tools at night and behind it a covered concrete slab where we’ll be fabricating. Between Zander’s tools, Crosby’s and the local Builders Warehouse we have everything we need for an efficient build.
Zander van Manen is quite a guy. Degree in environmental management, years of doing Environmental Impact Assessments on gold mining sites in Mozambique, years of working with an ecological pest solutions company (where he got to apply the many years of hawking and owling knowledge he has amassed since his first owl at age 8).
Much of his workshop skills come from bush mechanicking broken down mining equipment in Mozambique (he has an unbelievable story about an excavator breaking down during a river crossing in Moz and being the guy under the half-submerged hood while the rest of the team stood crocodile guard with spears and torches, calling out to him whenever they saw a shadow swimming his way). Now he’s settled in with SunFire Solutions bringing a wide array of solar energy solutions to people in the country.