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H2O International SA turns 20!

H2O International SA turns 20!

H2O International, South Africa’s leader in water and air purification, celebrates twenty years of healthy living. Established in 1994, by entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Marchesini, H2O International has become a household name in water and air purification systems, improving the quality of life for South Africans.

tonyTony had always dreamed of owning and running his own business. Having spent eight particularly successful years as the Marketing Executive Director for the Italtile Group, he knew he was ready to venture out on his own and he took the entrepreneurial plunge.

The story of H2O

In 1992, Tony began his search for a unique business concept that would allow him to merge his commercial acumen with his passion for helping people. The health industry was about to boom and, with a keen interest in healthy living, he was exploring this space for opportunities.

“A friend of mine knew I was looking for an opportunity and introduced me to a water purification supplier,” says Tony. “after personally experiencing the significant difference it made to the taste and colour of regular tap water, and studying the potential health benefits from removing chemicals from tap water I realised that a business that promoted clean, great-tasting drinking water in South Africa would do well and do good. This was my opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of millions.”

From humble beginnings

Image of the very first H2O Water Bar
Emmanuel Clifford, Rondebosch H2O Franchisee, in the very first H2O International SA outlet.

It was in October 1994 that Tony launched his first H2O International retail outlet at the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch, Cape Town. The concept proved immediately successful as people loved being able to pop in to buy their water, view the small range of water purifiers on display and learn about the various health benefits of filtered water.

Twenty years on and the concept has been strategically grown and franchised, with over 70 stores conveniently located in various parts of Southern Africa, including Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Angola and Nigeria.

We have 25 staff members at the H2O Support office, that are dedicated at serving and supporting the Franchisees . Ken Lister the Financial and operations director takes care of the staff and ensures that excellent support is delivered daily to our customers and Franchisees.

Since start-up, the H2O International core product range has grown from 14 to over 450 today. Their services include sales, support, rentals and repairs.

H2O International SA has not only become the leading national supplier of water filtration solutions – they also carry an extensive range of air purifiers, hot and cold water dispensers, coolers, coffee machines, ice machines and food-waste disposers, with products for home, office, industrial, hospitality and agricultural use. See our range of products here.

An image of a range of H2O International SA products


A range of products supplied by H2O International South Africa


On a mission

H2O International’s mission: “To improve the health and well-being of all South Africans,’’ is upheld throughout the Company. Every highly-trained team member is committed and focussed on educating all South African’s on the benefits of drinking clean, pure water. The Company’s ultimate aim is to improve the health, well-being and quality of the lives of all who are touched by H2O’s quality products.

Education is key, explains Tony. “H2O International has invested millions in educating the public on the need to drink clean water every day. Correct hydration is essential to healthy living and can make such a big difference, but to lead a quality life, you really do need quality water.”

Reaching out

H2O International directors Tony Marchesini and Ken Lister founded the African branch of the non-profit organisation Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) in 2012. With over 25 years of water treatment industry experience between them, they are using their expertise and extensive distribution network to deploy Biosand water filters into developing areas in Southern Africa, where there is a dire need for water that is safe to drink, without risk of causing illness.

Image of wishing well international Foundation in action

Wishing Well International Foundation in action!


Enter the H2O International online competition before 30 November 2014 and stand a chance to win two water coolers.

Or, from the 25th Oct 2014, pop into any of the franchise outlets, where you can see and experience the quality of their products for yourself. Lucky visitors can win discounts and prizes in their Pop-a-Balloon promotion, which is being held until 30 November 2014, in celebration of their 20 years of success.

Where to get more information

Try browsing through our easy-to-use website, with a great deal of health-related information and product specifications. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are available to enhance your browsing experience via live chat (during office hours) or phone.

Or call 0800 4 WATER (92837) for more information.

H2O International wish to thank their loyal customers, Franchisees and suppliers for the support that they have shown the company over the past 20 years.

Here’s to the next 20 years! Here’s to Life!

[ You’re welcome to send us birthday messages in the comments below! 😉 ]



Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Tony, Head Office Staff and Franchisees

    CONGRATULATIONS on this special time and CONGRATULATIONS on 20 years of leading the way in the world of water filters, air purifiers and coffee machines.

    Our 12 year relationship with you has been a great journey and a great inspiration to witness how a business should be run; honestly, diligently, with a smile and with products that improve the world.

    We at Brainstorm Advertising wish you well and another 20 prosperous years!!

    From William Gets, Shannon Malinaric and the Brainstorm Team

  2. Happy Happy Birthday H2O!!!!
    We bought our first H2O water purifier (a PCT) 20 years ago! We happily continued to update our system until in 2005 we became the proud owners of H2O Centurion 
    What a fantastic company with an amazing team to compliment the BEST WATER PURIFIERS in the WORLD!!!! Here’s to many more years of bringing the safest, cleanest, tastiest drinking water to our beautiful country.
    Sparkling Regards
    Cheryl – Jim and the Staff at H2O CENTURION !!

  3. Happy Birthday H2O from your Durban North Franchise.

    Wow, we go back a long way. I first discovered H2O International when I rescued 3 sailors from a sinking yacht in the middle of a South Atlantic storm, and the boat was sponsored by H2O. That was way back in 1996. One of those young sailors was a very motivated and convincing H2O ambassador and my family has been involved with H2O ever since.

    What a way to start a water business, in the middle of the massive Atlantic Ocean. Not sure if that is poetic or ironic…


  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY H2O International South Africa!! Well Tony, since joining you TWENTY YEARS AGO I have had a lot of FUN, helped a LOT of people and had a LOT of incredible experiences and provided a GREAT living for my family. Owning an H2O Franchise isn’t a job it is simply a FUN way of earning a decent living.

    As your first Franchisee – AND still standing – I may be a bit biased, but, heck, any business that has stood firm for TWENTY YEARS is serious stuff! I’m in for the the next TWENTY – LETS GO, LETS GO!


  5. Dear Tony,

    Congratulations for pioneering an outstanding company!

    Here’s to life!

    Kind regards,
    Nick & Becks
    H2O Somerset West / Paarl

  6. congrats Tony on a company well run. I started with you way back at access park in Kenilworth. What a team we had then. I cant remember all the names. Mike A-Z, Gussie, Storeman Mike and our technician in his kombi. I am still active with H2o at the Goodwood / Table view branch with Craig. H2o is a great product, many have tried to break into the market but failed, because of bad leadership and support from management. I might not be around in twenty years time, but would like to see the company still going strong for as long as I can. Happy Birthday!

    Best wishes
    Richard Little

    1. Thank you Hendrik!
      I am so glad that you and your family love our products. Thank you for the recommendations!
      Here is to the next 20 years!

      The H2O Team

  7. In 1995 i witnessed the H2O WAVE grow out of a Neap tide to the present Spring tide.Will the next 20 years produce a TSUNAMI (of the non-destructive kind) ??

    Congratulation Tony (my captain, my captain) & Rosa for 20 years of pure dedication & belief in the water purifing industry.The H2O Slogan ” HERE’ S TO LIFE ” is truly an appropriat one!!

  8. Hi Tony,

    Congratulations with H2O’s 20th birthday. I enjoyed the 7 years I was part of the H2O family and still use my products today. Still sending business your way!
    Well done!

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