Amahle Ntshinga of Luntu named Santam Rising Star 2022
Globally, there is a rise of conscious consumers; more people want to support businesses that mirror their personal values. However, these very consumers are also time-conscious and want to do everything in the most convenient way possible,’ says Amahle, who created the e-commerce platform LUNTU to help conscious shoppers use their money for good.’
As a student at Wits Business School, she saw how much harder things were for people in marginalised demographics, and she wanted to make a change by supporting local businesses that work to uplift people of colour and women, and care for the planet. ‘I spent hours online looking for a business that could easily provide conscious products, but couldn’t find anything,’ she says. ‘I saw there was a gap in the market, and that’s when I came up with the idea for LUNTU: Conscious Shopping, Made Easy.’
While browsing the website, consumers from all over the world are able to use The LUNTU Index, a filter that indicates whether a product is, for example, organic, vegan, eco-friendly, or upcycled or recycled, and whether the business owner is a woman or black or LBGQT+. ‘I wanted people like me – who care about shopping for local, black-owned, women-owned and/ or environmentally friendly products – to buy these items easily,’ Amahle says.
She launched LUNTU in 2020 with five registered vendors and catered for Johannesburg-based customers only. Today, she sells the products of about 30 vendors, and the shoppers are from all over the world, from as far afield as Australia, Brazil and Canada. Baobab Insights has named her brand ‘one of Africa’s coolest new developments’.
About 95% of LUNTU vendors are black and/or women. ‘If there is one black-owned business that sells organic sanitary products in the country but it has a brick-and-mortar store in Cape Town, it’s missing out on potential sales to a woman like me who lives in Johannesburg and would like to buy its products.
‘Once people decide to use their purchasing power for good, then all these corporations that are not doing what’s good for society… I think it will persuade them to change.’
For Amahle, winning the Women of the Future Rising Star Award is the validation she needs to know that her hard work has been worth it. ‘There are some months our sales would be as little as R500 and I would ask myself, “Should I keep going?” But I won’t give up.’
For more information, visit luntu.co