Tribe STRONGLY INDEPENDENT & FIERCELY CONNECTED
INSIGHTS FROM LEADING LADIES: ■ ■ ■
HEATHER MONAHAN ÉLISABETH MORENO ANNE CANDIDO
ROAD MAP FOR SUCCESS
SIEMENS, YOCO, PATRICK MAVROS & CONTRACT HARDWARE
ISSUE 4 2020
INSIDE THE CSIR’S STRATEGY TO COMBAT THE VIRUS
HOW THE DOUGHNUT ECONOMIC MODEL CAN WORK IN SA ■ LEGACY BANKS AND NEW ENTRANTS – WHO’S LEADING?
CONTENTS ON THE COVER
008 • SCIENCE VS CORONA
018 • M ODERN LEADER: HEATHER MONAHAN
028 • MEET THE CHIEFTESS: ANNE CANDIDO
Walk a mile in this Boss Lady’s shoes to learn how to bounce back from adversity and become more confident in every facet of life
How this marketing guru helps brands develop authentic connections to people’s heart, mind and soul
022 • MODERN LEADER: ÉLISABETH MORENO
032 • WORLD-CHANGING TREND
Having made the move from law to business— and from Cape Verde to France—Moreno is contributing to the development of her home continent with leading edge innovations
Nanomedicine may be the solution to addressing global health concerns
If we are to emerge victorious from the battle against COVID-19, it’s up to scientific researchers and experts to find the necessary solutions with which the country can arm itself. How the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is challenging the pandemic: from screening water samples and strengthening the capacity of the Department of Health, to monitoring human mobility and exploring the use of indigenous knowledge-based products.
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038 • AGENTS OF CHANGE Was our idea of transformation as a country bound to betray us? We can learn much from the personal and corporate journeys of two black businesspeople turned authors
044 • WORLD-CHANGING TREND Doughnut economics may be a way to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet
SPECIAL SECTION 050 • DOWN TO BUSINESS A look at how South African companies—large and small, established and fledgling—are surmounting the challenges of the business landscape and reformulating the accepted models for success
026 • THE OBJECT 066 • THE GREAT OUTDOORS 070 • THE STEED 072 • NATIVE DISRUPTOR 074 • PARTING SHOT
048 • BEYOND THE HORIZON In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, competition in the banking sector has intensified further between legacy banks and the new entrants. Who will emerge the stronger?
004 • A WORD FROM THE INDUNA 006 • MUST-HAVES
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A WORD FROM THE INDUNA
rogress is never easy. It comes in different guises, most times unplanned—and even more times, quite painful. This is where we are today. The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences across the globe. Deaths over 800 000, millions of jobs lost and even a redefined economy. And added to it all, the poor have gotten poorer and the rich… well, have gotten richer. The South African economy has taken a battering not even rivalled by the recent recession. And the widespread looting of taxpayers’ funds via PPE contracts has reflected the self-serving and selfish elements we still have within our ranks. Mildly put, it has all been a lot to take in. Despite the social and economic havoc that the pandemic has caused, a shift within our psyche has been forced. We have taken it all in our stride and are pushing forward in the new normal. We are carving out a new way under immense
pressure; after all, beauty is rarely borne out of calm and happiness. A new path must be embraced and an era of social and economic empathy must commence. It’s time we grew as a nation and as a continent. Tribe Business Magazine is a progressive media brand that is involved in the key conversations of today and tomorrow. Forwardthinking, promoting a culture of business, design, innovation, intelligence, collaboration and, above all, integrity—TBM is the future of business conversations. Business conducted within ethical bounds is the mantra. I hope you enjoy the latest installation of this publication as we are very proud to present it to you. We may be going through a rough patch, but that does not mean there is no silver lining on the horizon. Read and enjoy, but above all learn, unlearn, reflect and implement. This may just be our time. ■
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Tribe STRONGLY INDEPENDENT & FIERCELY CONNECTED
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SUB-EDITOR Lynn Marks
CREATIVE CONCEPT ART DIRECTOR Stacey Storbeck-Nel
Professor Owen Skae, Patrick McInerney, Christoph Malan, Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga, Robbie Stammers, Evans Manyonga
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DISCLAIMER Â©2020 Tribe Business Magazine is published by ReignMakers (Pty) Ltd. The Publishers are not responsible for any unsolicited material. All information correct at time of print.
PERFECT 7 A FEW INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS THAT ARE GRABBING ATTENTION IN 2020, FROM SMART TVS TO SMART HOME SYSTEMS COMPILED BY JACKIE MANYONGA
HP ENVY 13 LAPTOP With all the attention placed these days on social media, online shopping and working from home, privacy has become an even bigger concern. The HP ENVY 13’s wide-vision HD camera has an unhackable camera shutter and webcam kill switch to help keep your conversations private. Being in media, I’m always conducting Zoom and Skype interviews. The HP ENVY’s video, picture and audio quality (Bang & Olufsen) is exceptional. And because the laptop is so lightweight (1.3kg), it’s never been more comfortable to work from the comfort of my bed! R18 999, incredible.co.za
HYDRALOOP SMART HOME SYSTEM Water’s becoming such a precious resource that it’s up to all of us to save as much as we can. Hydraloop’s innovative water-recycling solutions allow you to do just that—effortlessly and efficiently. These next-gen self-cleaning, low-maintenance products are available for home, garden and pool. Hydraloop Home recycles up to 95% of shower & bath water, and optionally 50% of washing machine water. So you recycle and reuse up to 85% of your total in-house domestic water with this smart refrigerator-resembling device (in stylish colours of dew, stone or chilli), and the resulting recycled H20 is clean, clear and safe. The Hydraloop works completely automatically, and you can keep tabs on the amount of water you recycle and save per day/week/month with the accompanying smartphone app. www.connsfilters.com
LARQ UV SELF-CLEANING WATER BOTTLE NURALOOP WIRELESS EARPHONES The “world’s smartest earphones” are lightweight, portable, compact and durable. But, more importantly, they automatically learn how you hear— in about a minute—and adapt the sound to deliver a revolutionary experience for your ears. When you’re out and about, you can opt to hear your surroundings with Social Mode, or block out everything but your music with Active Noise Cancellation. And with the earphones’ maximumcomfort ergonomic design, you can listen all-day long. R4 999, www.myistore.co.za
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No matter how diligent you are about maintaining good hygiene practices when it comes to your water bottle, at some point it’s going to get that funky, slightly fungal smell. This 500ml insulated bottle by LARQ purifies both the bottle and the water in it at the touch of a button, killing 99.9% of bacteria and harmful odour-causing germs. It keeps cold liquids cool for up to 24 hours, and hot beverages warm for up to 12 hours. The self-cleaning mode turns on every 2 hours. Charging is via a USB cable (1 hour), and the bottle’s battery lasts up to one month. R3 240, www.wantitall.co.za
HP ELITEBOOK X360 1040 G6 NOTEBOOK PC The stunning EliteBook x360 is the thinnest business convertible laptop computer yet. Whether you’re travelling or you’re a writer whose inspiration can come at any time, you can easily move around with it. It’s the perfect fit for my home office environment, too. HP Noise Cancellation and superb audio ensure my conference calls are clear, and I don’t have to compete with the neighbour’s dog or my brother’s Xbox. The added security and privacy features allow me to work with peace of mind, while the anti-glare screen reduces eye strain. No qualms about the power running out, as the notebook features an HP Long Life 4-cell lithium-ion battery. R50 000, www.loot.co.za
LG VELVET 5G With 5G connectivity now speeding up in South Africa, everyone’s out to take advantage of faster communications. The new LG Velvet smartphone is the perfect introduction to 5G capability, with an elegant eye-catching design (the colours shine like velvet) and superb functionality to boot. From its 6.8-inch P-OLED cinematic full-vision display and powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, to the 4 300mAh battery and raindrop-inspired camera with whopping 48MP resolution, this device will provide high-speed operations and all-day battery power. With the Dual Screen, you get double the fun: Use two apps simultaneously, play games while watching a video, or chat to a friend as you watch a movie. Plus, the handy stylus writes with the same natural feeling as pen and paper. From R11 799 www.vodacom.co.za, www.mtn.co.za, cellucity.co.za, takealot.com
SAMSUNG’S THE SERIF 4K UHD SMART TV While other TVs belong on walls or TV stands, The Serif can be placed anywhere you please: as a sophisticated piece of art or centrepiece on a shelf, or down on your wooden floor, or atop your marble kitchen countertop. But don’t stop at just one location, this TV was meant to be moved. Its metal easel stand detaches easily for carrying, or simply leave the legs off to use the TV in smaller spaces. Quantum Dot Technology and 100% Color Volume mean you get brilliant picture quality that’s matched only by the clear, immersive sound. The Serif can sense changes in surrounding light and adjusts the screen’s settings to maintain optimal brightness and contrast. And when the TV’s off, the screen can virtually disappear into the background as the Ambient Mode+ mimics the wall behind it—or display the weather, news headlines or a clock face for something different. Samsung Experience Stores
ON THE COVER
IF WE ARE TO EMERGE VICTORIOUS FROM THE BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19, ITâ€™S UP TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS AND EXPERTS TO FIND THE NECESSARY SOLUTIONS WITH WHICH THE COUNTRY CAN ARM ITSELF. HOW THE COUNCIL FOR SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH IS CHALLENGING THE PANDEMIC BY TAVONGA JACQUELINE MANYONGA
ON THE COVER
ON THE COVER
nowledge is power, especially when it comes to beating a global pandemic such as COVID-19: from exploring the use of
indigenous products, to tracking mobility to better understand the spread of the virus; from producing quality protective wear for use on the frontlines, to supporting small and medium businesses. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is using all the resources at its disposal to save lives and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the South African economy, collaborating with multiple experts and top-tier innovation leaders to devise solutions. These experts are working in tandem with external partnerships forged to equip the country with all the necessary skills, tools and research needed in the fight against the unseen killer. Tribe Business Magazine approached the CSIR for an inside
The COVID-19 pandemic is testing our natural behaviour somewhat beyond our imagination, forcing us to work and operate differently. 0 1 0
look into how science and technology is the life support of an entire nation plagued by the pandemic. With their world-class expertise, CSIR explained how it is helping communities to overcome this unprecedented nightmare, and discussed possible solutions to beating the pandemic. Indeed, science is our best chance of overcoming the multiple challenges and surviving the ‘new normal’ in which we will find ourselves long after the virus has dissipated.
COVID-19 in the South African winter
The influence of the southern hemisphere winter season on the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa is unknown. The media is immersed in several speculations, but the only sure thing is that the epidemic will peak here in mid-winter. Dr Neville Sweijd, director of the Applied Centre for Climate & Earth System Science, a research programme by the CSIR and the National Research Foundation, says that “the months between April and September are usually associated with the influenza season, but the seasonal prevalence of SARS-CoV-2, the organism responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is still speculative. This is because it is a novel virus, which has only been circulating for around six months, and the information that is available regarding the environmental influences on the disease comes mostly from countries in the northern hemisphere.” Sweijd goes on to say there are more than 100 studies that explore the effects of environmental variables on the virus in some way. Learning can also be gleaned from laboratory studies on SARS-CoV-2
and similar viruses that have spread globally in the past, such as those responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).There are several other ‘endemic’ human coronaviruses that cause the common cold, which have a seasonal prevalence. “The COVID-19 Environmental Reference Group (CERG) is investigating how this information translates into the South African experience of the pandemic. Preliminary findings, based on historical average winter conditions, are that as South Africa heads into winter, the portion of the SARSCoV-2 transmission risk which is attributable to climate will rise due to falling temperatures and humidity in most of the country. In contrast, warmer conditions should result in a marginal decreasing effect on transmission rates in the northern hemisphere as it emerges from winter. With this in mind, it is likely that the late summer onset could have delayed the timing of the peak of the disease,” he concludes. The e-symposium by the World Meteorological Organization, titled “Climatological, Meteorological and Environmental factors in the COVID-19 pandemic”, was held at the beginning of August to evaluate the possibility of COVID-19 manifesting over the next few years, at least until an effective vaccine or treatment is widely available. It also discussed the likelihood of whether or not SARS-CoV-2 and its variants would become one of the family of common viruses with a seasonal prevalence, and the likelihood of a ‘second wave’ in the winter of 2021. The CERG has participated in other global discussions with colleagues
in both the northern and southern hemispheres, who are considering these scenarios. The virtual international symposium would assess what has been learnt and what is understood, and what can be reliably predicted about the role of environmental variables’ influence on the trajectory of the COVID-19 epidemic from a global, hemispheric, regional and local perspective, Sweijd explained. The outcome of the conference will include a synthesis of the information presented and recommendations for further research and operational responses at global to local scales.
Keeping a watchful eye on our water Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSIR Microbiology and Parasitology Laboratory has screened many water samples for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious viruses. Water samples were received from many of the country’s leading water utilities, as well as utilities from some neighbouring countries. Researchers have not detected any infective viruses in any of the drinking water samples that have been analysed to date. According to CSIR microbiologist and senior researcher Wouter le Roux, who has worked in the field of water-related microbiology for 15 years, “Scientists do not consider SARS-CoV-2 to be a water-borne pathogen because these respiratory viruses lack the characteristics that typically provide environmental durability. Robust water-borne pathogens usually survive environmental stresses well because they have attributes like DNA genomes and resistant cell
walls; the COVID-19 viruses lack these features.” The laboratory can test raw (source) and final (treated) drinking water samples for the presence of certain viruses. The test screens water samples for viruses that infect human-like cells, and the COVID-19 virus can be detected using this approach. “According to the World Health Organization, there have been no reports of viable SARS-CoV-2 viruses in treated drinking water. It is important to mention that the test does not identify the specific viral agents; instead, it warns us of the presence of certain viruses that can cause human disease upon consumption,” Le Roux adds. The laboratory will continue to provide the service to the water sector, ensuring the safety checks remain in place—not just for COVID-19 but also for other waterborne diseases that will continue to pose health risks to vulnerable communities.
A wastewater-based epidemiological tool to track COVID-19 in communities
The CSIR, in collaboration with Waterlab and the University of Pretoria, is testing wastewater, primary sludge and environmental water samples for COVID-19. Wastewater-based epidemiology can be used to monitor infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and other enteric viruses in communities. The surveillance of wastewater for pathogens that cause diseases in a community provides a unique opportunity to assess the presence of the virus without needing to test individuals. SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in sewage and found to survive for 14 days in sewage at 4°C and two days at 20°C. CSIR senior researcher Bettina Genthe says the aim of the research is to establish testing protocols for the SARS-COV-2 virus in environmental samples such as wastewater, primary sludge and
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ON THE COVER
PETA DE JAGER Senior Research Group Leader
DR MATHETHA MOKONYAMA Transport Systems & Operations Manager
environmental water samples, and develop an epidemiological approach of tracking COVID-19 in South Africa. The SARS-COV-2 has been reported in wastewater in Australia, China, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and the United States of America. The concept of screening municipal sewage as an epidemiological tool for viruses is not new, and has been successfully implemented for environmental polio virus screening, as well as early warning of hepatitis A and norovirus outbreaks. SARS-CoV-2 screening in raw sewage water using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction measures the virus circulation in a defined population, for example, a city or a smaller municipality feeding from the same wastewater treatment works. The CSIR is using its capabilities in epidemiological data management and integration with existing national reporting platforms to develop a method for comparing the estimated number of infections in communities with reported values.
been a long-standing partner of the CSIR in South Africa and has co-operated in various fields of research, including manufacturing and mining. CEO of Siemens for Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo, says that in March this year, when Europe said it did not have enough ventilators, Siemens decided to partner with the CSIR to develop a locally engineered version. Dall’Omo explains that Siemens designed and supplied the software, so it would have two outlets. “One is our software and team centre out of our Product Lifecycle Management software that enables us to stimulate digital twins so that you don’t have to go into prototype production and, ultimately, optimise. This is because you don’t want to have a product that’s ISO-certified and can’t be used post-pandemic in the supply. It should be used whenever it’s needed and not just as a crisis solution. If the correct paperwork is not done and the standards are not adhered to, it might not be supplied later into the market—and these are really innovative ideas.” Throughout this process, Siemens has created innovative solutions that should stay on the market long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. In July, the CSIR produced (or has
Siemens partners with the CSIR Innovation leader Siemens has
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started production on) the ventilators with a team of suppliers. It has funding for 10 000 ventilators in South Africa. From the value, engineering and software side, Siemens is contributing about R8 million to that project to make sure things are moving forward. Here is the link for the video of this project: https://youtu.be/-Jc21N6jwVw Dall’Omo adds, “We’re currently also working with the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng to identify how we can participate in alleviating the health crisis specifically in the hospital environment. We’re proud to have been the technology partner on this project with the CSIR to provide the Product Lifecycle Management software support.”
Expert insight for modelling of COVID-19
Professor Pravesh Debba, manager for Spatial Planning and Systems at the CSIR, is leading a group of digital modellers and collaborators who aim to share critical information, knowledge and data with the national Department of Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and other government departments, in responding effectively to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Data science as well as statistical and mathematical modelling are at the forefront of understanding the spread of the outbreak and being able to forecast the number of deaths; test different strategies and interventions; determine the number of those who are critically ill at a specific point in time at a particular location; as well as determine if there are adequate intensive-care unit beds, ventilators and other critical resources within our healthcare system. “One of the greatest challenges in adequately responding to such disasters lies in the weakness of our systems when it comes to collecting
ON THE COVER
PROFESSOR PRAVESH DEBBA Manager for Spatial Planning & Systems
GERBRAND MANS Research Group Leader for Urban & Regional Dynamics
DR SECHABA BEREETSENG Programme Manager
quality, timely and disaggregated spatial data. The lack of interoperability, standards and sharing of data between different levels—local, regional, national, and internationally—limits the extent to which we can effectively respond to the COVID-19 situation. The ownership of this information and data ranges across various government, academic, public and private sectors, as well as science councils,” says Prof. Debba. “The COVID-19 pandemic is testing our natural behaviour somewhat beyond our imagination, forcing us to work and operate differently. Modelling of COVID-19 has the ability to understand the effect of the different levels of lockdown, both socially (social distancing) and economically. This helps the government make decisions based on science.” Through collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council, the Human Sciences Research Council, and the universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria, Witwatersrand and Hasselt in Belgium, as well as the NICD, the modelling group focuses on three different modelling approaches: The first is a data-driven modelling approach, performed to
determine reliable forecasting of the number of cases, recoveries and deaths at national and provincial levels. This nonlinear epidemiological growth model is crucial to being able to effectively manage the rising case load and allocate resources over the short term, as well as develop continuous updates of the final size of the outbreak, turning point and duration. The model is also compared to the compartmentalised SusceptibleExposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) epidemiological models used by the National Coronavirus Command Council through the NICD. The second approach is to use ward-level case data to support and
improve the understanding of area-level variation of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa and its drivers for targeted interventions. The objective was to assess the spatial epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 in South Africa to determine local clusters of infection and hotspot detection. By complementing this derived spatial database with socio-economic data and environmental data (and hopefully in future also adding burden of diseases), spatial statistical methods were used to perform spatial regression and interpolation. This approach also helped to assess spatial dependence at both global and local levels to identify locations of high COVID-19 rates and predict where additional clusters of infection will occur. The third modelling approach was to assist the NICD in developing a spatial SEIR model that would be able to respond to different lockdown scenarios in different municipalities, based on the forecast of the pandemic at a local level, while taking into account differences in transmission rates, population density, demographics and other factors at a localised level. For Prof. Debba, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the value of collaborating, sharing data and
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the value of collaborating, sharing data and information
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ON THE COVER
information, performing quality data checks, and exercising good analytical modelling and data science to contribute to the scientific fraternity—enhancing decision making for the country. This approach can illuminate the difficult, but critical, choices that are constantly being made.
Determining most vulnerable communities
South Africa’s National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) approached the CSIR to assist in its preparations to support local municipalities in their response to the COVID-19 disaster and mitigate all possible risks. The focus of the support was to provide conceptual and guiding input to the approach centres, responding to the national crisis. The CSIR had collaborated with the NMDC on the development of The Green Book, an online tool focusing on adaptation planning for settlement within municipalities in the face of climate change from 2017 to 2019. The Green Book project was co-funded by the International Development Research Centre in Canada and the CSIR. In addition to the conceptual input, CSIR experts in urban and regional dynamics supported the
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NMDC with the spatial mapping of vulnerable communities to COVID-19. This was packaged in a spatial-dashboard (web-based geographical information systems) environment to show how and where the NDMC should focus its efforts. Gerbrand Mans, CSIR research group leader of the Urban and Regional Dynamics Research Group, explains: “A planning support system can take on various forms, but it always has a strong spatial analysis underpinning. It is this capability, combined with a deep understanding of risk vulnerability analysis of human settlements, that allowed us to develop the vulnerability index.”
Bridging the gap between decision-makers and frontline staff
The CSIR is working toward strengthening the capacity of the Department of Health to improve the handling of COVID-19 infections in South Africa. Researchers are contributing to various activities such as providing technical support, drafting guidelines, as well as providing training to healthcare workers. “The fight against this pandemic includes assisting organisations with
the establishment of infection prevention and control programmes. Even before the beginning of the epidemic, we worked with partners such as the universities of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria, as well as the Foundation for Professional Development, to introduce new continuing professional development courses on infection control. At the start of the epidemic, our researchers trained frontline clinical workers and the military health leadership on the implementation of PPE [personal protection equipment] programmes,” says CSIR senior research group leader, Peta de Jager. “CSIR uses multidisciplinary science to tackle COVID-19 related challenges. For example, we draw on CSIR expertise in manufacturing, chemicals, water and aeronautics to investigate innovative technologies and methods to decontaminate respirators; and use computational fluid dynamics to mitigate infection risk in aircraft cabins and mini-bus taxis,” she add.
Medical-quality protective facial shields
The CSIR printed and manufactured medical-quality protective facial shields for use by the South African
ON THE COVER
National Defence Force in deployments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufactured from materials strictly specified as suitable for medical use, the facial shields are not similar to commercially available equivalents. CSIR technicians explored various options before arriving at a workable option. 3D polymer prototyping was done using biocompatible material, and production capabilities—such as water-jet cutting, laser cutting technology and injection moulding—were tested using various laboratories at the CSIR, as well as those of private sector partners in the manufacturing industry. Refinements performed on the initial design included adjustments to the head piece for a more comfortable fit and lighter feel, adjusting visor connections to make it easier to connect to the head piece, and a more durable elastic fastener adopted from a moulding supplier. The first batch of 100 printed facial shields was manufactured using water-jet cutting and delivered to the Department of Defence. The project was one of the first to be undertaken at a newly established Advanced Design and Manufacturing Innovation Centre
The fight against this pandemic includes assisting organisations with the establishment of infection prevention and control programmes. Tribe
at the CSIR’s Pretoria campus, which is home to an advanced design team focusing on niche applications and which is equipped with additive manufacturing technology in polymer and powder as well as 3D-scanning infrastructure. Plans are afoot to identify laser-cutting and injection moulding manufacturers to increase the volume of manufacturing and decrease unit cost. The CSIR will also be involving suppliers and other service providers, as well as small, medium and micro enterprise partners in the project. This supports the CSIR’s focus on industrialisation and forming partnerships that support economic transformation, while addressing matters of national importance.
Tracking mobility to better understand COVID-19
As part of the national data-driven approach to countering COVID-19, the CSIR has developed a platform that monitors human mobility to better understand movement patterns across specific areas—such as virus hotspots, high-risk and vulnerable areas—as well as monitor lockdown compliance and the spread of the virus. Various partners are involved in the project to provide anonymised data and intelligence on the movement of people at different levels. Mobile network providers, for example, are key to data collection for the platform, as they provide the anonymised movement data that may also include COVID-19 selfscreening data. Other entities, such as tracking companies and cloud-based service providers such as Google and Apple, play a vital role in providing public mobility reports. These mobility reports provide more insight on the places that people visited during the COVID-19
pandemic, such as workplaces, shopping centres, schools, universities, churches and government facilities. This intelligence can assist health authorities to enhance their contact-tracing efforts in cases of virus outbreaks. Dr Jabu Mtsweni, manager of the CSIR’s Information and Cyber Security Centre in Pretoria, says the centre is positioned ideally to manage such a national data project. The CSIR is independent from commercial interests or competition; “that means we can receive data from a myriad of sources that know that the data will be used for the best interest of the country and that they will be kept safe and secure,” he explains. Movement patterns are analysed at a national level and can be drilled down to show intelligence for provinces, municipalities, districts and wards. In cases of outbreaks, movement from a particular event (such as a group gathering) can thus be tracked to better arrest the spread. Data shows metrics of people moving about in a particular period, where (how far) they travelled to, and how long they spent at a destination. Through such intelligence, it is possible for health administrators to review regulations and speed up response interventions such as targeting points for screening and testing, issuing lockdown alerts, and using heat maps to plan for emerging hotspots. Dr Mtsweni says the system has a longer term potential benefit in crime prevention as well. “With comprehensive and quality data, we can track socio-economic activity in an anonymised manner to better anticipate occurrences of crime.”
Urban knowledge exchange
The CSIR has developed an online moderation of civil society
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ON THE COVER
engagement platform. The discussion platform is devoted to sharing resources and hosting conversations about the impact of COVID-19 in the context of human settlements. The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation approached the CSIR’s Urban Knowledge Exchange Southern Africa (uKESA) team to support its national knowledge management effort in developing a COVID-19 response plan. Specifically, the department requested the CSIR to establish co-ordinated engagement with the informal settlement sector. After a rapid investigation of user requirements, the uKESA team proposed setting up a national discussion platform using Google Groups. The group, called the COVID-19 Sector Policy and Technical Platform, has about 80 members from across government and civil society. The discussion platform is dedicated to sharing resources and hosting discussions about the impact of COVID-19 responses on disadvantaged communities. The hosting of the national discussion on the Google Groups platform is inherent to uKESA’s mandate, which is to facilitate open knowledge exchange. Additionally, uKESA discussions serve to bring government and non-government parties closer to an agreement about the best way forward.
Exploring the use of indigenous knowledgebased products
Scientific studies into a traditional medicine that may help improve the body’s ability to fight off and recover from infection may be helpful in the fight against COVID-19. The Prijap Biolife traditional medicine has been in the market for 10 years and has been used to treat patients who have been infected by the human
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immunodeficiency virus. With expertise in advanced agriculture, food science and health, the CSIR collaborated with the University of Pretoria— combining their research and development capabilities to conduct in-vitro studies on a liquid extract of the product in 2019. Researchers from the CSIR and the University of the Free State are proposing further studies to ensure the product is scientifically and clinically certified, and are preparing funding proposals. This South African patented product, with its unique preparation method, offers potent activities that could potentially be effective in treating symptoms that are associated with coronavirus infection. These include immunebuilding, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, appetite-increasing and energy-boosting activities. These aspects have proven to be key elements that contribute to improving the body’s ability to fight off and recover from infections. However, further scientific and clinical studies are required to ensure the validity of some of the product claims. While the CSIR continues to endeavour using its research and development capabilities on indigenous knowledge systems and the agro-processing sector to support the government in the fight against COVID-19, it equally aims to support a competitive bioinnovation industry through the valorisation of plant-genetic resources and indigenous knowledge to develop new products and processes.
Supporting SMMEs using television white space technology The CSIR has partnered with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) to enable local Internet service providers to deploy television white space (TVWS)
networks using the CSIR–developed Secondary Geolocation Spectrum Database (S-GLSD) platform. The S-GLSD is a spectrum management tool that enables efficient allocation of usable spectrum, and enables Internet service providers to deploy TVWS broadband networks rapidly on a geolocation basis to underserved communities. The authorisation of TVWS follows a request by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to the CSIR to make its S-GLSD platform available to licensed operators. Dr Ntsibane Ntlatlapa, Networked Systems and Applications impact area manager at the CSIR, says that “in line with ICASA’s request, the CSIR has invited interested TVWS network operators approved by ICASA to use its S-GLSD services free of charge. This is in an effort to improve the national broadband Internet capacity and provide relevant and up-to-date information to the public in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” The TIA provided the funding necessary to make the geolocation spectrum database technologies freely available to SMMEs interested in providing broadband Internet services by deploying TVWS networks. Says TIA head of ICT, Rudzani Mulaudzi: “These kinds of technologies are crucial to ensuring no one is left behind, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. Morai Solutions, a TIA– funded technology, was also selected by ICASA to deploy TVWS networks in rural communities in South Africa.” Dr Ntlatlapa concludes, “It is expected that this intervention by the CSIR and TIA will support the provision of life-saving information and enable online learning for populations in previously disadvantaged and rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.” ■
special moments allows us to
celebrate three of our own Life changes. But it neednâ€™t be stressful. At Pam Golding Properties we understand that selling your home is far more than a simple transaction, that it is also about the transition from one phase of your life to another. Our specialists stand at your side, ready to guide you and offer their experience and wisdom, ensuring your anxieties never outweigh your optimism on this special journey. This commitment, inspired by our late founder and built on our people, is as heartfelt today as it was in 1976 when we celebrated our first successful sale. This year our industry peers acknowledged the importance of our people and the extraordinary service they offer, by honouring us as the Best Real Estate Agency in South Africa, at the International Property Awards 2018. To personally experience our award-winning service, visit pamgolding.co.za or simply give us a call.
ONCE YOU LET GO OF CARING WHAT OTHERS THINK, YOU CAN STEP INTO WHO YOUâ€™RE REALLY MEANT TO BE.
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BOSS IN HEELS WALK A MILE IN HEATHER MONAHAN’S SHOES TO LEARN HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM ADVERSITY AND BECOME MORE CONFIDENT IN EVERY FACET OF LIFE Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga
magine being a successful
businesswoman one day—with accolades such as a promotion to chief revenue officer and being named one of the Most Influential Women in Radio—and being fired the next. That was in 2017, and Heather Monahan wondered, “How can this be happening to me?” But you can’t keep a good (wo)man down, as it were. Less than a year later, she founded her own company, Boss in Heels LLC, and her self-published book Confidence Creator reached no. 1 on Amazon in the category Business Biographies and Motivation, in its first week; it also made the top spot on the Amazon Best Seller List in Personal Transformation. The book is a compilation of stories from her childhood, career and life experiences. It teaches readers how to bounce back from adversity and create confidence in any situation: “from getting a first job, to getting THE job, to being able to move beyond ANY job”. But Monahan herself is first to admit that confidence isn’t created overnight. For her it was, and still is, a daily struggle. While writing her book, she second-guessed herself many
times, wondering if it would sell and whether people would like it. “It took every bit of my confidence to put myself out there and just jump off the ledge, not knowing what was going to happen,” she told ThriveGlobal.com. Now, as an entrepreneur, professional speaker, influencer and mentor, Monahan is lifting up others and empowering them to find their own success. Boss in Heels is her global community and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others live their best lives. “Boss in Heels means a few things to me,” she explains. “When people hear the term ‘Boss’, oftentimes they think of a stoic male figure. To me, ‘Boss in Heels’ is representative of being you, and for me that means celebrating that I am a woman while still commanding respect and delivering results in the workplace. Boss in Heels is about treating employees, partners and clients well and having a vested interest in their success. Boss in Heels is a more modern way of leading.” In her new podcast, Creating Confidence, Monahan shares the techniques and strategies to create confidence, pursue one’s
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MANY TIMES PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATED ME WHEN THEY FIRST MET ME, AND ATTRIBUTED MY SUCCESS TO MY LOOKS. I ENJOYED PROVING THEM WRONG.
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dreams and leapfrog the villains—the negative people—one may meet along the way. She’s currently busy writing her second book, aptly titled Leapfrogging Villains, due for release in 2021.
IN THE KRAAL WITH Heather Monahan
WHO INSPIRES YOU? Tell us about your humble beginnings. Where did Heather Monahan come from? I grew up one of four kids in Worcester, Massachusetts, raised by a single mom who worked three jobs to make ends meet. I began with a paper route, then waiting tables, bartending and eventually I graduated school and became a sales person in the wine business. After being harassed in my job, I moved into the radio business as a seller. I chased a pay cheque my whole life in the hopes I would never have to struggle the way I did when I was a child. That drive and focus yielded revenue, but it also left me feeling empty. It took me getting fired from my C-suite position [executive-level managers within a company] to re-evaluate my goals and pivot my business to do something that brought me meaning. For decades, women have been working to break the proverbial glass ceiling. How did you do it? My work ethic and ability to ask for things others simply didn’t ask for was a difference maker for me. I remember how many people told me not to pitch myself for a vice-president of sales position, since it didn’t exist. Luckily, I learnt to listen to my own voice over others’ limiting beliefs. I asked and was rewarded the position. I consistently asked for more and continued to overdeliver—eventually landing me in the C-suite. What was the biggest challenge you faced in corporate America and how did you overcome it? Dealing with office politics, primarily being bullied at work by another woman. Most women anticipate that men may harass them, but women are actually the most evil villains another woman will ever face in the office. You never expect them to be the ones that try to sabotage you. After being named one of the most influential women in radio, you were
Fire your villains to set yourself up to take off. Stop saying “sorry”—apologising for everything has become a way of life for so many people. Learning to transition “sorry” to “thank you” is extremely powerful. You need a plan, but don’t plan too far out. Taking on a 30-day plan is a great way to accomplish your goals when life seems overwhelming.
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…? “My 12-year-old son.”
YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?
How do you balance work and play? Balance is bullshit. I try to be present wherever I am. If I’m at a work event, I immerse myself in the event. If I’m home with my son, I stay off my phone and give him my attention.
“My book, Confidence Creator.”
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? “I attribute my success to my ability to constantly take action and evolve in the face of adversity.”
unexpectedly terminated. What was your first thought? How can this be happening to me? I was shocked and mortified. I cried for 24 hours straight—and then I decided to ask for help. I posted on social media that I’d been fired and I was hurting. The highlights of your career thus far? Highlights include writing and selfpublishing my first book, Confidence Creator, reinventing myself as an entrepreneur at 43, and launching my speaking career and new podcast to rave reviews. Tell us more about your book. Confidence Creator is a compilation of my lowest moments and how I learnt to build confidence from then and how the reader can, too. It’s really a blueprint to bouncing back from adversity and creating confidence in any situation. What are some of the key lessons readers will learn?
How vital is confidence in ensuring lasting success, in any business? Confidence is the one thing that can change everything. Confidence is the basis for true success. Once you let go of caring what others think, you can step into who you’re really meant to be. What more do you think needs to be done to encourage women to take on leadership roles? First of all, they have to want them. If they truly want them for themselves and not for others, then they need to step into their confidence and power and own their unique voice. While that sounds simple, it truly is a huge accomplishment for most women. How can women better manoeuvre in the business world, with their femininity and confidence? When I was younger, I was told not to wear my hair down, not to wear skirts or look feminine; however, it wasn’t until I became confident and started rocking my hair down with my red dress that I realised showing up as the real you is the most powerful thing a woman can do. Many times people underestimated me when they first met me, and attributed my success to my looks. I enjoyed proving them wrong. Any advice for readers wanting to follow in your high-heeled footsteps? Believe in yourself over everything, stay focused on solutions and never, ever give up. ■
THE CASE FOR TECHNOLOGY
HAVING MADE THE MOVE FROM LAW TO BUSINESS, ÉLISABETH MORENO IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF HER HOME CONTINENT WITH LEADING EDGE INNOVATIONS Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga
ell-known tech company HP has a long history of tech innovations to improve lives and transform industries, reaching as many people as possible around the globe. It donates $3.5 billion annually to its research and development of products, solutions and new technologies—reinventing its offerings so that customers can reinvent how they work, play and live. Another point of pride for the company is that HP has the most diverse board of directors of any tech company in the United States; and globally, 40% of HP hires in 2019 were women. One of these leading ladies is Élisabeth Moreno, a Cape Verdean by birth who moved to France in her early childhood. The judge-turnedbusinesswoman was promoted to vice-president & managing director of HP Inc. Africa in January last year*. She is responsible for providing country leadership for South Africa and driving profitable growth in company businesses across the Africa region. Moreno’s vision for the continent is to uplift and empower its vibrant youth: improving access to quality education, and empowering young women to develop their economic independence. Like HP, she is passionate about making a positive impact in the world. The dynamic daughter of Africa revealed to Tribe Business Magazine her daily responsibilities and leadership philosophy, and how HP is helping both companies and citizens grow.
Tell us more about your background. My life philosophy is that you may not choose where you’re born or your background, but you can choose how to live your life and your career. I was born in Africa but moved to Europe when I was 6. For me, personally, education was a turning point that launched my career in business, management and technology. I first completed my master’s degree in Business Law in Paris, as I wanted to become a lawyer. I eventually became a judge. When I realised my passion for business, I decided to complete my education at the ESSEC Business School [France] and Mannheim Business School [Germany] with a European MBA degree, specialising in the Multinational Environment. After many years of studying and working in France and accumulating two decades of experience as an entrepreneur, I wanted to come back to Africa and contribute to the development of my continent. I moved to the corporate world in the ICT industry where I held various senior management positions at Orange [formerly France Télécom], DELL and Lenovo before joining HP. You are responsible for providing country leadership for South Africa. What is your leadership philosophy? A leader, whether male or female, is someone who knows how to carry others with them. Such a leader is followed by people who believe in their project and who need to be stimulated and inspired. In these times of complexity and uncertainty,
where everything moves so fast, wise and humane leadership is becoming even more important. For instance, during the annual reviews at HP, I pay attention to an equal treatment of male and women, equal access to promotions etc. Women are as capable and competent as men, but they sometimes lack self-confidence and self-esteem. You have stated that HP is a socially responsible enterprise and a diverse, inclusive workplace. Which key characteristics do you believe differentiate HP from its competitors? Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is the foundation of everything we do at HP. It drives new business, fuels innovation, and attracts and retains the best employees. Our own research has shown this is particularly relevant for women, of whom 70% are interested in roles in the tech industry and 45% are open to technical roles. We embrace diversity, inclusion, and build incredible and diverse teams through rigorous succession planning and talent development. HP prides itself on reinventing its offerings so that customers can reinvent how they work, play and live. Which new HP products are embodying this principle? We’re reinventing the entire computer category by leveraging design, engineering and customer trends to create innovative experiences that amaze while transforming experiences for work, life and
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I LOOK UP TO OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE MANAGED TO ASCEND TO THE TOP DESPITE ALL CHALLENGES.
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play. We follow a clear strategy based on delivering what customers want and need. In the past couple of years, we’ve been on a constant quest to innovate and create. A never-ending drive to reimagine what’s possible—for our company, for our customers, and for the world. As our personal and professional lives are blending and mobility is increasing everywhere, plus the workforce is changing, we’re creating technology that spans work and life, such as the HP EliteBook x360—powerful enough for the office but sophisticated enough for personal use. As well as the HP Spectre Folio that has the craftsmanship of luxury leather combined with the functionality of a sophisticated, next-generation PC. Our HP Z 3D Camera will deliver in a mobile format the advanced scanning capabilities of the Sprout Pro—useful for graphic designers and artists scanning real objects into their digital workflow. Advances in VR are creating experiences that capture the imagination as never before; ideas are brought directly into your digital workflow. HP’s VR solutions are being used for many commercial and public sector mission-critical applications (e.g. HP Z VR Backpack PC, powerful HP Z Workstations), having a real impact on efficacy of training, improving customer experience and patient outcomes in healthcare. Other recent innovations include the HP Elite Dragonfly, a convertible 2-in-1 business laptop; Z Book Studio x360, the world’s most powerful convertible PC; and the ENVY Wood Edition, the world’s first convertible PCs with authentic wood. What has been the highlight of your career to date? The executive roles I’ve held are the results of the hard work and my distinctness. I’ve proved that a woman in tech can achieve top positions and lead with purpose. My career is an example that it’s possible for women to help other women overcome existing barriers that are preventing them from ascending to the top. I look up to other women who have managed to ascend to the top despite all challenges. That’s the highlight, because it can be a multiplicator for more female leaders on our continent and beyond.
IN THE KRAAL WITH Élisabeth Moreno
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” —Norman Vincent Peale
WHO INSPIRES YOU? “Nelson Mandela, Simone Veil [Holocaust survivor and revered French politician] and Mary Jackson [first African American female engineer to work at NASA], among others.”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT…? “Air.”
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? “Costa Rica.”
FAVOURITE HP GADGET? “My HP Elite Dragonfly.”
How do you encourage women in the tech space? If we want to increase the number of girls and women to join the business world, we must motivate and inspire other women by sharing what’s possible. I’m passionate about what technology can bring into my life and the lives of others. Today, I’m grateful that I’m a part of a multinational company that has become one of the best workplaces for women. At HP, we approach our gender equity advocacy by elevating the voices of women and girls. We partnered with UN Women executive director Phumzile MlamboNgcuka and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand digital learning opportunities for women and girls in five priority countries: South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Morocco. This collaboration builds a
model of partnership where equipment and entrepreneurial online learning courses are offered in digital classrooms to more than 5 000 women. We also partnered with Black Girls Code in 2019 on an Enrichment Workshop series that utilises storytelling, creativity and technology to inspire coding in 5- and 6-year-olds. What is the biggest misconception about women in the tech industry? From a very young age, gender stereotypes such as ‘boys are better at science and maths’ or ‘women have nothing to say about technology’ can discourage girls from studying STEM subjects [science, technology, engineering, maths]. But at the rate today’s businesses are constantly transforming—think artificial intelligence, Internet of Things—to remain competitive, there’s a massive opportunity for organisations to elevate female leaders in STEM who have strong skills beyond technical competencies to enable innovation and make the difference between organisations that successfully transform and those that get left behind. African countries should also unite to create a digital single market in which women and girls can generate the opportunities entrepreneurs and investors need to stimulate innovation for the continent. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a fantastic opportunity to boost Africa’s social economic growth. That’s the reason I’m supporting the Pan-African Business Women’s Association, and I’m looking forward to seeing its positive impact. ■ *After finalisation of this article, Élisabeth Moreno was appointed as Deputy Minister for Gender Equality & Equal Opportunity in the French government on 6 July 2020. “Diversity, inclusion and equality are integral to HP’s culture, and Élisabeth has been a strong steward of these values during her time at HP,” stated the company upon Moreno’s new appointment. HP also revealed that Issam Essadiqi will be interim MD for HP Africa. With more than 20 years of experience at HP, he will ensure a seamless transition until the company’s long-term leadership plans are finalised. HP remains deeply committed to Africa.
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BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE Patrick Mavros’ Pangolin Collection is helping to save the endangered mammal it portrays Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga
he pangolin: a shy, scaly little critter that’s sadly
believed to be the most heavily trafficked nonhuman mammal in the world. The Chinese use the animal’s ground-up scales as medication for arthritis, rheumatism and other ailments; while
pangolins are eaten as bushmeat in western and central Africa, and by some indigenous groups in south and Southeast Asia who consider it a delicacy. In certain areas of Zimbabwe, however, the pangolin is considered sacred. The country’s Tikki Hywood Foundation and Trust work closely with authorities to increase conviction rates for people caught killing and/ or smuggling pangolins. At the Patrick Mavros headquarters in the hilly outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe, wildlife and family are the central priorities. The family business operates out of a studio and wildlife sanctuary here, as well as an atelier in Mauritius. They’re passionate about bringing
the beauty of Africa to the world through hand-crafted jewellery and sculptures in sterling silver and 18-carat gold—inspired by their home country’s extraordinary wildlife such as the hippo, elephant and crocodile. The Pangolin Collection was created by one of Patrick Mavros’ four sons, Patrick Jr, to help save this endangered creature, in association with the Tikki Hywood Trust; 10% of sales from this collection is donated to the foundation to continue its conservation efforts. The jewellery epitomises the beauty of this rare African anteater, mirroring its beautiful overlapping body plates. The signature Pangolin Haka Cuff is a bold and remarkably detailed piece of jewellery in gold or silver: perfectly tapered at the ends, with each ‘scale’ polished by hand; hidden on its inside surface are tiny engraved ants marching in quirky formation. It’s a distinctive piece, like the animal it celebrates—making a statement that cannot be ignored. The stunning ladies’ collection also includes stacking cuffs, rings, necklaces and pendants, contemporary silver earrings, and yellow gold stud earrings. Indeed, Patrick Mavros jewellery represents a safari of adventure, romance and, above all, unquestionable quality. It’s mystical. It’s magical. It’s conservation through jewellery. Visit www.patrickmavros.com for more information and pricing. ■
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
A BRAND-LOVE STORY How marketing guru ANNE CANDIDO helps brands develop authentic connections to people’s heart, mind and soul Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga
ntil the world is run by
robots, there will always be a person on the other side of the sale. This means a brand’s ability to transform lives to create an authentic relationship will continue to be paramount for growth. That’s Brand-Love,” explains Anne Candido, founder of consulting business Go for 2 and author of The Super-Highway of Relevancy: Getting More People To Choose Your Brand, More Often, Indefinitely. Candido has a dynamic career background, having built up extensive experience in her years spent as—surprisingly—a mechanical engineer and then working for Proctor & Gamble for 20-plus years. Having been employed in both product development and communications/ influencer marketing means she has been intimately involved in all stages of the brand journey. “This vast experience is why I’m able to make non-obvious connections between brands and consumers,
creating untapped potential for businesses,” she says. “The significant career pivot also provides a level of credibility when I recommend to businesses that they pivot, too, in order to create stronger Brand-Love connections with their customers.” She’s proof that you can effectively use both sides of your brain! This has all stood Candido in good stead to build her own successful consulting business that, she says, is aimed at developing unexpected yet authentic connections to people’s heart, mind and soul to ensure more consumers fall hopelessly in love with a brand. Marketing and branding are crucial for any business that wants to elevate and stay relevant, she adds. Candido has been the architect of game-changing product launches such as that for Secret Clinical Strength, as well as pivotal brand programmes like the P&G “Thank You, Mom” campaign for the London 2012 Olympics and the Cannes Award-winning Tide Super
MARKETING AND BRANDING ARE CRUCIAL FOR ANY BUSINESS THAT WANTS TO ELEVATE AND STAY RELEVANT Tribe
Bowl campaigns: #BradshawStain and #TideAd. Through partnerships with properties like the NFL, Joe Gibbs Racing, United States Olympic Committee and NYC Fashion Week, she has become an expert in defining how brands can maximise influencers, spokespeople, thoughtleaders and credentiallers to create relevancy, differentiation and ambassadorship. As a woman in business, working in and with diverse teams, Candido has come to realise that “90% of decisions are emotionally led, irrespective of gender.” But most marketing is still highly cognitive, as many rely on ‘problem–solution’ communication to differentiate. This can work short-term if your widget is new and novel, but “make no mistake, someone will follow quickly with a better widget or, worse, a knock-off at a lower price. Which is why long-term growth is contingent on transforming into a brand.” She believes brands have tangible value, which allows businesses to command higher prices, attract more customers, scale more quickly and create a bigger impact. But this isn’t always easy, especially for small and mid-size businesses that may not have the resources, time or experience. That’s why it gives Candido “great joy” in helping these businesses cultivate Brand-Love
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
connections that drive long-term growth. So, what differentiates Go for 2 from other brand consultancies? What gives Candido’s business the edge, in order to give brands the edge over their competitors? The answer lies in the company’s name: When a gridiron football team goes for a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown—instead of merely kicking a one-point conversion—they’re making a
statement that they’re going for the win. “When you work with Go for 2, this is the same statement you’re making to your competition: We don’t settle for kicking extra points.” Candido elaborates: “We are focused on helping businesses quickly capture the hearts of their customers without breaking the bank. We believe in ‘real-time brand-building’, which delivers strategically informed execution—
creating an immediate business impact while also developing equity for systemic growth and connections with customers. And since we personally orchestrate the execution within our extended network of ultra-seasoned freelancers and boutique agencies, we don’t require hefty retainers and contracts to do this.” Many people assume building Brand-Love is not that difficult; companies, institutions and
GO FOR TWO: ”IT ISN’T HOW HARD YOU THINK, IT’S THE QUALITY OF THE THINKING THAT CHANGES THE GAME,” SAYS ANNE CANDIDO.
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MEET THE CHIEFTESS
IN THE KRAAL WITH Anne Candido organisations all work toward having everyone fall in love with their brand. Candido says the biggest misconception about cultivating Brand-Love is that “if you have a logo, website and social following, you have a brand. Many times, these businesses are still operating with a commodity mindset, yet wondering why they can’t grow loyalty. A brand must be able to definitively answer three questions: Who am I? How am I different? Why do you (the customer) want me? If you can cover up your business name and insert your competition’s, you haven’t dug deep enough.” Cultivating Brand-Love is the common thread that unites all successful brands. Brand builders understand that the value is in selling the emotional impact the product or service delivers, not just its solution. Candido explains, “Consider that every iconic brand is merely a commodity that delivers on a higher-order benefit their consumer covets. For example, Nike puts a price tag on athletic shoes and apparel, but what they’re really selling is the belief that when you put on their gear, you become an athlete. This feeling is worth more to a consumer than the benefit of anti-wicking fabric.” Sharing her extensive knowledge, insights and fine-tuned process principles built up over the years, Candido released her brandbuilding handbook for startups and small businesses, The SuperHighway of Relevancy, in November last year. In it she outlines a process she calls “What If? Ideation”, which teaches brands how to dig deep to discover untapped potential that, when realised, magnifies BrandLove impact. “The ideation session is a guided journey that starts by grounding ourselves in consumer
FAVOURITE QUOTE? “Life happens for you, not to you.”
WHO INSPIRES YOU? “The entrepreneurs who have made it happen: Marcus Lemonis [from The Profit], Tom Bilyeu [YouTuber and co-founder of Quest Nutrition], Ed Mylett [billed the fastest growing business personality in the history of social media], Barbara Corcoran [founder of The Corcoran Group and investor on Shark Tank], Sara Blakely [founder of Spanx], and many more. Listening to their stories and those they feature is what prepared me for the entrepreneurship journey, and why I didn’t quit.”
CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT? “Besides the obvious family and friends, I can’t live without sunshine.”
BRAND YOU LOVE MOST? “I’m cheating and going to qualify this with ‘in the last week’ and say Traeger Grills. We just got one [grill] and it’s a game-changer in the way it cooks meat. The brand also does a fantastic job at point-of-sale differentiating their product and has created an entire following that entices you to join.”
insights, ideating unexpected yet authentic connections by asking ‘What If...?’, and developing an action plan to unleash your brand’s potential. This session is guaranteed to get you to think differently about your brand—because it isn’t how hard you think, it’s the quality of the thinking that changes the game.” Candido recently joined forces with another branding and marketing expert, April Martini, to form ForthRight People: an ondemand marketing agency for small and mid-size businesses. According to the website, “We come from opposite sides of the proverbial Marketing and Branding tracks: Anne from the Corporate world and April from the Agency world. This means with our combined 35 years of experience, we have seen just about every situation business can throw at you, from all sides, with a wide cast of characters, through the ever changing world.” And soon Candido will be sharing her inspiring life lessons and learnings on the Success Made to Last podcast platform. Candido is living proof that women who set their minds on achieving their goals can succeed— with education, building up extensive experience, and being intuitively entrepreneurial. Her advice to those wanting to follow in her footsteps? “No excuses. The world isn’t going to feel sorry for you and just hand you what you think you’re entitled to or deserve. It rewards people who are relentless pursuers of what they want and who take responsibility for making it happen. Expect the journey to be hard. You will overcome it by continuing to take steps forward, even if tiny ones, and remembering failures are lessons in disguise. So, embrace it, and go for it!” ■
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SMALL WONDERS Nanomedicine may be the solution to addressing global health concerns By Wela Mlokoti
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anotechnology has been
recognised as one of the most important scientific fields of the 21st century, using engineered structures in the nanometre-scale size range to the benefit of mankind. Nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology to the field of medicine, has demonstrated the potential to revolutionise modern medicine through advanced applications in detection, diagnostics (disease diagnosis and imaging), monitoring, drug delivery and therapeutics in healthcare practice. As a field of intense global research and product development, nanotechnology may be the solution to addressing global health concerns. Tribe Business Magazine sought to find out more about the field of nanomedicine from Dr Steven Mufamadi, founder and managing director of Nabio Consulting and one of South Africa’s foremost pioneers in nano- and biotechnological research. Nabio Consulting provides a wide range of consulting services—with nanotechnology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals as its main lines of focus.
WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY?
ANY POTENTIAL RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH NANOTECHNOLOGIES WILL BE OUTWEIGHED BY COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS THAT ULTIMATELY IMPROVE HUMAN LIVES 0 3 4
The prefix nano- is derived from the Greek word for “dwarf”. In the scientific field, it means onebillionth, making a nanometre one-billionth of a metre. It’s difficult to imagine just how small nanotechnology is, but a point of reference is this: A nanometre is about three to five atoms in width, making it approximately 40 000 times narrower than a single strand of human hair! Nanotechnology is the application of enabling technology at the nanometre scale that has potential to produce structures,
devices and systems with novel properties or new functionalities. It’s a cross-cutting field that encompasses nanoscale science, engineering and technology, and involves the measuring, modelling, imaging and manipulation of matter at that scale. While nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. Alternate-size gold and silver particles created colours in the stained glass windows of medieval churches hundreds of years ago.
The artists of the time were unaware that the process they used to create these beautiful works of art actually led to changes in the composition of the materials with which they were working. Nanotechnology started developing in the 1980s with the creation of the scanning tunnelling microscope and the atomic force microscope, which enabled scientists to see and manipulate matter at a nanoscaleâ€”using the unique physical, chemical, mechanical and optical properties of materials that naturally occur at that scale. Because the majority of
biological processes occur at the nanometre scale, scientists then had the opportunity to construct new processes to enhance their work in materials synthesis, chemical catalysis, optical imaging, computing, advanced materials, drug delivery systems, medical devices, and more.
THE LANDSCAPE OF NANOMEDICINE IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa has made remarkable advances in nanotechnology, particularly in the areas of medical diagnostic devices, drug delivery
systems, water treatment and purification, energy, cosmetics and plastic materials. In 2005, the Department of Science and Technology designated primary healthcare as one of the six key areas in which the full potential of nanotechnology application needed to be unlocked, making efforts to set up two Nanotechnology Innovation Centres (NICs): one at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the other at MINTEK (South Africaâ€™s national mineral research organisation), both collaborating with various private sector and
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science councils. The NICs set up research units across South Africa in universities such as the University of Johannesburg (Gauteng), University of Witwatersrand (Gauteng), Rhodes University (Eastern Cape) and the University of the Western Cape. These centres are research driven, primarily to develop nanotechnology products including nano-based sensor prototypes, nano-composite systems for water treatment, and nanoparticle-based targeted drug delivery systems for use in primary healthcare. In 2011, South Africa became the first African country to own an electron microscopy centre. The Centre for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth is a facility for advanced electron microscopy research of materials from the micro to atomic scale.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND COVID-19
Nanotechnology is currently helping in the fight against
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COVID-19 in many ways, such as the development of nanotechnologybased antiviral disinfectants that are highly effective and can kill 99.9% of viruses on surfaces, contaminated objects and/or during handwashing sanitisation. Most nanotechnology-based antiviral disinfectants are currently used for disinfecting public transport (for example cars, buses and trains) and hospitals, schools, supermarkets and homes around the world. Nanotechnology-based antiviral disinfectants are advantageous, as they can be applied monthly instead of dailyâ€”which is the case with chemical disinfectants, but they are much more expensive.
In the case of personal protective equipment, nanotechnologies promise to offer a new generation of face masks that could kill the virus on contact, creating masks that are reusable and washable while remaining effective, recyclable and self-sterilised. In the case of COVID-19 diagnostics, nanotechnology will provide affordable and quick COVID-19 tests that can deliver accurate results within 20 minutes. Nano-enabled vaccines and treatments are showing the capability to neutralise the coronavirus, with some of them already in the advanced stages of clinical trials.
THE FUTURE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY
NANOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH IS EXPENSIVE
In future, we are likely to see the following advances in medicine: Point-of-care disease test kits, which can offer all the diagnostic functions of a medical laboratory. These kits are designed to test viruses, bacteria and fungi and will be able to screen for infectious diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria, cholera and even cancer. This development will not only help to detect and diagnose diseases efficiently and accurately, but also allow for wider healthcare inclusion and provisions to reach out to many rural communities or people living in areas where primary healthcare infrastructure has yet to be realised. Smart pills, with applications that include targeted and automatic drug release for diseases with a strict medication regimen; early detection and automatic treatment for allergic reactions or infections; and a Bluetooth hub for other wearable or implantable medical devices. Nano bots, which use external magnetic fields to perform a wide variety of surgeries such as eye surgeries performed by injecting a needle into the eye and using a
specialised magnetic field to direct the needle; clearing blocked arteries by injecting a corkscrew chain of iron oxide beads into the bloodstream which then drills through arterial blockages and breaks up plaque; and collecting biopsies by using nanobots made from elastic polymers and resembling unfolded cubes to grab tissue samples by folding up and holding samples inside the cubes.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND ASSOCIATED RISKS
Just like any other emerging technology, nanotechnology is relatively new and its risks are largely unknown due to insufficient data. Studies have shown that nanopolymers are significantly less harmful than conventional drugs
that are released into the environment, such as antibiotics or painkillers. However, nanomaterials may pose several types of potential health risks including short- and long-term risks to the health of those taking nanomedicines, risks to the workers making nanomedicines, and contamination risks to the environment at large. Materials which by themselves are not very harmful could be toxic if theyâ€™re inhaled in the form of nanoparticles. The effects of inhaled nanoparticles in the body may include lung inflammation, and oral or dermal exposure to some types of nanomaterials may lead to pulmonary diseases and/or induce skin ageing through oxidative stress.
The societal impacts of new technologies are easy to identify, but hard to measure or predict. Nanotechnology has and will continue to have a significant impact on our daily lives. Scientists have alluded that remarkable benefits to healthcare can be expected over the next decade with the development of drugs, vaccines and other pharmaceuticals that will specifically target diseased cells. A major drawback is that nanotechnology research is expensive and the technologies may pose health risks to an extent not yet identified, but researchers are hopeful that any potential risks associated with nanotechnologies will be outweighed by cost-effective solutions that ultimately improve human lives. â–
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BUILT ON SAND Was our idea of transformation as a country bound to betray us? We can learn much from the personal and corporate journeys of two black businesspeople turned authors Mteto Nyati and Nolitha Fakude By Dr Sibongile Vilakazi
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he pace of transformation
since the dawn of democracy has been painfully slow and fraught with disappointment. The resentment by both previously disadvantaged groups and the privileged indicates that we have failed to transform our society. Two recent books written autobiographically by figures who are symbols of transformation have brought this debate to the surface. Mteto Nyati and Nolitha Fakude released their biographies late last year, titled Betting on a Darkie and Boardroom Dancing, respectively. The books detail the authors’ personal and corporate journeys. Both these figures are arguably successful products of the transformation project; they are highly respected in their fields of expertise and are, strangely, similar in their demeanours and auras. They are very down-to-earth and unassuming, considering their achievements. The parallels in their life journeys are striking and can be contrasted through the lens of the transformation project. This can be done not to criticise the two business leaders, but to make a point about the decisions that have been taken by the post-apartheid governments to advance socioeconomic transformation. The parallels start with their upbringing. They were both raised by strong female figures. For Mteto Nyati, both parents were prominent figures throughout childhood. However, he singles out his mother as having had a stronger influence in his life. He describes her as having been attentive and present. She was deliberate in raising them as children, conscious and strongwilled. She made him start doing hard labour and help around the home at the tender age of 8. She was a trailblazing entrepreneur
who began her career as a teacher and later became a shopkeeper. Similarly, Nolitha’s primary role model was her grandmother who was widowed at the age of 40 but “called the shots in her life as if she were a man”, as Nolitha describes her. Nolitha’s grandmother ran her businesses and passed on her business acumen to her daughter, who lost her husband at a young age of 28, but went on to become a formidable shop owner. By the standards of the period in which both Mteto and Nolitha grew up, owning a shop was a symbol of success and placed the respective families in the middle-class bracket. Both families used this middle-class status to be of service to their communities. As children, for example, Mteto and Nolitha read letters for community members who could not read. They worked in the shop, attending to the needs of customers and the broader community. Their families were the only ones who had a telephone line, which they used to enable the rest of the community to connect with loved ones. They were both raised to be conscious of their responsibility toward their communities. The next parallel is their exposure to the outside world as teenagers when they left home for boarding school. For Mteto, boarding school introduced him for the first time to pupils from different backgrounds who opened his world to the realities of the country at the time, such as police brutality in the townships. He also learnt the critical life lesson that success was within his control. He was inspired by conscious teachers who wanted to make a difference, and the authority of an inspiring black principal who formed the idea of black excellence for him.
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For Nolitha, boarding school exposed her to peers from across Africa. It was a pan-African school staffed by predominantly international teachers on a missionary assignment. She found the school environment to be nurturing and valuing diversity. The school reinforced the strong work ethic that had been inculcated at home. They both left home for university, which is where their journeys started to diverge as social norms, particularly patriarchal ideas, began to shape their personal trajectories. Mteto was a diligent student who did not get distracted at university. Despite his newfound political interests, he remained focused on his studies and went on to become the only black engineering student to graduate in his group. This would have been socially expected of him as a male, to attain independence and ability to provide first before he started a family. After completing his engineering studies, he went on to start a career as a trainee engineer, which made him the first black engineer at Afrox—the first to have
been awarded a bursary by the company. In Nolitha’s case, the prospect of marriage started competing with her studies and career journey. She got married to a man eight years her senior who had already completed his studies. They had a child before she could finish university and accomplish her desire to become a psychologist, which was against her mother’s wishes for her to first complete her studies. It did not help that the entrance criteria to become a psychologist were dependent on one having had “life experience”. Her application was rejected. Being a mother and wife created new expectations that potentially could have delayed her career. However, having a strong mother, who had defied social norms herself, inspired her to pursue a career even after marriage. Their career parallels collide again as they were both inducted into work environments that evoked the work ethic and sense of responsibility that was cultivated throughout each of their childhoods. As a result of their
noticeable hard work and impact in their junior roles, and having empowering line managers, they attracted mentors who helped shape their careers. They confronted the harsh reality of being the only one or first black person in the position. For Mteto, it evoked a feeling of being avoided, not embraced. He was given tasks with little support but, because of an ingrained sense of responsibility, he made the most of the experience. He identified opportunities and taught himself how to do the job and excel in it. He, for instance, taught himself how to run a computer program, having had very little prior experience of working with computers. Nolitha experienced being the first black African trainee manager in the coloured- and whitedominated Cape Town as a steep growth phase of her life. She had to deal with both racism and naïve ignorance about black people from colleagues and customers, who had never seen a black person in such a position. However, her experience also exposed her to the power of supportive white leadership.
AGENTS OF CHANGE
Both Mteto and Nolitha were exposed to white line managers who saw their talent for what it was and believed in them enough to make them feel included and confident in their job roles. These line managers became their career mentors and sponsors. Mteto had a positive and nurturing experience with his mentor. Nolitha discusses a dynamic with her mentor that was potentially difficult for her, but she managed it as best she could. She tells a story of her mentor delaying her promotion on account that she still had a project to complete to further prove herself, even though she had already been identified as a high performer deserving of the promotion. Her mentor argued that he was protecting her by ensuring that in the eyes of even doubters she would be deserving of the promotion. This story highlights the invisible hoop that women are required to jump. The judgement and need to overcome assumptions that one is not good enough. Having to prove your competence and worthiness a little more than a man would be expected to prove his and his right to leadership. All because men are given the benefit of doubt, while women are expected to prove themselves. Another social bias toward men shows up when Mteto narrates his story after finding love and getting married. He depicts his wife as his pillar of strength and backbone for him and the family. Although the story is understandably about Mteto and not his wife, his account of his life portrays her as a shadow. Her life seems to be centred around him and the family, with little mention of her own accomplishments outside the family. She is a law graduate and he describes her as an intelligent voice of reason, the wind beneath his wings, which triggers curiosity about her own wings and how far she could have spread them if she
were not the pillar and backbone of the family. This contrasts with Nolitha, who loses her husband partly because she allowed her own wings to spread too far and the family drifted apart. Her career ambitions meant that she was growing fast, and as a couple they were living separate lives and growing apart, which eventually created problems in the marriage. In Mtetoâ€™s case, on the contrary, his wife moved with him to wherever his career took
him, which kept them intact as a couple and stable as a family. These accounts almost suggest there is an invisible expectation and a price to pay for a woman if she fully embraces her talents outside the home. Yet, society needs women to succeed because women are the backbone of families and societies. There is a lot about these two life stories that we have been fortunate to have documented, which starts to highlight some fundamental flaws with our transformation
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project that were perhaps taken for granted. These life stories help explain why we do not seem to find a happy transformation place as a country. The rest of this article discusses three fundamental flaws identified:
The first flaw is the issue of social class among black communities. Both Nolitha and Mteto come from middle-class families and privilege in the context of their upbringing. Their strong family support carried them through what would have been major difficulties, for someone without similar support. Their social exposure widened their view and put them at an advantage for opportunities that someone without such exposure, from a lower social class, might not have had. An average black individual from a lower social class would probably have been unable to navigate the same challenges they faced at the workplace and succeed, simply because of the lack of resources and strong family grounding and teachings they had received. Our attitude toward the transformation project did not pay much attention to the realities faced
A SYSTEMS THEORY APPROACH TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MUST BE DESIGNED WHERE THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE IDENTIFIED AS A STARTING POINT OF DEVELOPMENT. 04 2
by most black people who come from broken families. In fact, Affirmative Action explicitly states that an opportunity should go to a suitably qualified black individual or one with potential to grow into the role if a black and a white candidate are competing for the role. What happens when there are two black candidates, one with greater social exposure or speaks better English than the other? This stance assumes equality of black people and does not take into consideration the reality that the majority of blacks would not be suitably qualified and able to compete on equal basis. They would need a system designed to support them at a basic level like a strong family structure would have done. The important role of a strong family structure in advancing a child was overlooked, hence the potential mitigating initiatives that a caring state would put in place were not well considered. Instead, our approach to transformation created a fertile ground for those with a stronger grounding of a family base to take up all opportunities. These individuals ended up forgetting that as black people we were all in it together and our main task was to abolish the system of apartheid oppression, rather than enjoy opportunities that others could not enjoy simply because of their proximity. We can learn from Iceland, and how the country turned around its problem of teenage drinking in the 1990s. Iceland showed that it is possible for governments to stand in the gap and solve problems families should be solving but are unable to do so. Iceland studied the reasons behind high teenage drinking and discovered that staying out late was one of the underlying causes, as were boredom and parents not spending enough time with their teenage children. The government took over
the parental role by declaring a curfew for teenagers and making it illegal for them to be outside after dark, and rewarding parents for spending more time with their children. Parents were encouraged to go out in groups after 22h00 on Fridays to patrol bars and get underaged children out, while sports and music were offered to teenagers to stay engaged. Our approach to economic transformation as a country explains why we have largely reproduced social class patterns. It has mostly benefited those with intact basic structures, who are already well positioned to benefit while taking longer to trickle down to those in lower classes who do not have the foundational structures in place. This has created widespread dissatisfaction—but, just like in Iceland, our government can stand in the gap and mimic family structures that help individuals to thrive. The second flaw is the issue of placing women on the same level as black men in our transformation approach. We observe from Mteto and Nolitha’s life stories that as much as their family backgrounds were almost identical, there was an added social layer that made Nolitha’s life a little more difficult than that of Mteto. Nolitha’s success came with a little more sacrifice and hardship than that of Mteto simply because of social expectations designed to cushion a man a little better than they do a woman. We can sense Nolitha’s pain when she narrates how she felt she was choosing her career over her family, particularly her son. Whereas in Mteto’s case, it was assumed that his wife was there, and he could reach for his career aspirations without having to choose between family and a career. Essentially, women must make a choice, while men simply position themselves and show up to
AGENTS OF CHANGE
leadership and career success. Strangely, though, both figures were influenced by strong women who had defied the social norms of their time, which is what seems to have grounded their confidence, and allowed Nolitha to push forward and not be paralysed by guilt and perceived social judgement. Our transformation project needs to be more deliberate in reinforcing the role of women in propelling societies forward. The third flaw is the controversial issue of black leaders having white people as mentors and the impact this has on the former’s identity. It is commendable to have conscious white leaders who identify black talent and develop it. However, a mentor and sponsor plays a crucial role in moulding one’s behaviour and attitudes, as they model expected behaviours and control the opportunities to which they expose a mentee. These opportunities come with conditions, whether spoken or assumed. The power dynamic in such scenarios is such that as a beneficiary you would want to emulate what is acceptable in the eyes of your sponsor and tone down what may not be acceptable. The question then becomes, how does this toning down and dialling up of certain traits shape one’s identity as a black leader and a sense of identification with people of your own race who might not have been exposed in the same way? Does the toning down of traits that may be important in one’s community not alienate one from his or her people, whether consciously or unconsciously? I suspect it does, and it may
potentially be the reason some black leaders are more palatable to white elites and easily included in white circles because one has assimilated well and is less threatening to white supremacy. However, this is a problem for transformation because at the core these black individuals no longer identify with the harsh realities faced by the majority of black people and therefore do not represent the black experience in those circles of power and influence. Their presence in those circles serves only to legitimise white elitism while undermining the transformation project.
What then needs to be done to drive the much-needed radical transformation? We need a reset button. We can’t proceed on this trajectory without eventually slipping under the sand. We need a rejuvenated social engineering programme with a clear vision of socio-economic transformation. Women are at the centre of social development and the revitalised transformation project needs to intentionally place women at their rightful centre. A social pact must be established with men to understand that their success and children’s success depends on the success of women in society and therefore women must lead. We also need the government to play a truly developmental role by creating a social net that goes beyond social grants and a feeding scheme. The government must stand in the gap to systematically support the most vulnerable in our society through intentional social interventions.
A systems theory approach to social development must be designed where the most vulnerable are identified as a starting point of development. Systemic interventions must then be crafted to unravel the system to eventually influence the whole. For example, we keep referencing that we have good policies as a country, but the problem is implementation. This is lazy thinking and cannot be true because our policies are not designed with worst-case scenarios and with the most vulnerable situation in mind to enable them to be self-implementable. Hence, they can’t be implemented in our conditions. To illustrate this, take an embryo that can grow in a woman’s womb to become a baby and be birthed with no intervention from the woman because it was designed that way. As such, a girl child can be pregnant and give birth without a slight understanding of what is happening to her because the natural process was designed to proceed uninterrupted, once it has kick-started. Good policies should be able to do that: be intuitively implementable once a trigger has occurred. That’s how we should unravel the issues of our society and transformation. Identify a trigger and design around it. We need a reset button. A new deliberate social vision and social pact led by a caring government in partnership with the private sector. Universities and business schools need to produce leaders with the capacity to help us navigate this mammoth task. It can’t be business as usual. We must reset our approach to transformation. ■
■ Dr Sibongile Vilakazi is a research psychologist with a PhD in Organisational Development and Diversity Management. She is the chairperson of the Black Management Forum, Sandton Branch. The BMF Sandton Branch hosted Mteto Nyati and Nolitha Fakude to share their stories and inspire other black professionals with aspirations to climb the corporate ladder.
BEYOND THE HORIZON
OUT OF THE HOLE
How to find a way to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet, with honesty and trust By Professor Owen Skae
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e need a new compass of
regrowth for the 21st century, as things are not looking good for most people. It’s leaving us feeling anxious, unsure of the future and contemplating the need for new social, economic and environmental pointers that can direct us toward greater prosperity for all. It’s so easy to talk about ‘greater prosperity for all’ and ‘greater quality of life for all’, but these shouldn’t just be political slogans. They speak of the failure of our current economic model and how this impacts each one of us. As things stand, inequality is on the increase in our country and worldwide. While a very small percentage of people in the world have become wealthier, most people—despite working harder— have lost wealth or got poorer. It’s becoming tougher and tougher for business, and in an environment where we’re being continually stressed to achieve unreachable targets of growth, with diminishing returns, then what’s the purpose of continuing down this road? Let’s face it, our economy wasn’t working pre-COVID and it’s not going to miraculously improve going forward, as the consequences
of the pandemic are extremely severe. This gives rise to ideological considerations—because when things don’t work as they should, the chorus for substantive and even revolutionary change increases. And if the world cannot offer an alternative that resonates with where the need is greatest, there will be huge local and global consequences. Kate Raworth, a senior visiting research associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, explained this at the 2020
IT’S SO EASY TO TALK ABOUT ‘GREATER PROSPERITY FOR ALL’ AND ‘GREATER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL’, BUT THESE SHOULDN’T JUST BE POLITICAL SLOGANS. Kate Raworth
World Economic Forum. She created what’s known as the “doughnut model” of growth economics, where the hole in the doughnut represents all the people worldwide who are short of life’s essentials including food, water, housing, healthcare, education, peace and justice, gender equality and political freedom. “A big part of humanity’s challenge is to get everyone out of this hole,” she writes. “At the same time, however, we cannot afford to be overshooting the doughnut’s outer crust if we are to safeguard Earth’s life-giving systems such as a stable climate, healthy oceans and a protective ozone layer, on which all our well-being fundamentally depends.” In other words, we somehow need to find a way to meet the needs of all people within the means of the planet. If we look at South Africa, we can see the shortfall in all the essentials and systemic problems including education, poverty, health, genderbased violence, the lack of housing, water, jobs and food security, and the potential for lost generations if we don’t sort it out. The public sector can’t do it alone, nor can the private sector— and I hope that if one good thing can come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the government and the private sector start working together to build an inclusive economy, lessen the shortfalls and reduce the overshoot. I certainly think tremendous social and economic opportunities can emerge through this, including technological innovation, but it has to be based on honesty and trust. I recently had a discussion with a senior executive who has been intimately involved at a government-industry level in discussing the health and economic
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issues of lockdown, and he said it was starkly apparent in the discussions they were having that so often there’s not a lot of trust. When they were talking about the lockdown phases and opening parts of the economy, there was no doubt that certain people in the government thought business was motivating their point of view solely for profit. At the same time, there were some on the business side who didn’t trust the government because they felt there were alternative agendas. What was interesting for me in this discussion was that he acknowledged that perhaps there was justification on both sides, but he emphasised how strongly he believes it’s possible to build trust. Perhaps the starting point is to see the merit in the doughnut economics model and address the needs of people who are most dramatically affected by the shortfall as well as the overshoot. If we do this, maybe we can begin to find ways to build social growth and inclusion in our economy and put South Africa back on the path of growth we hoped would be realised at the advent of our democracy. Gross domestic product doesn’t determine our destiny. Increasing profit at the expense of jobs or killing employment by replacing people with machines is also not the way to go. We need the best and brightest minds to think about how best to create balance in the doughnut economy. What’s so important is that it can be implemented at the micro community level to the macro industry level. If we all do our bit to reduce the shortfall, it can create a snowball effect that takes us to where we need to be as a country. In an interview with Raworth in New Internationalist magazine, she
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explains that work happens in four spaces: the market, the state, the household, and the commons—in other words, at multiple levels and with multiple actors. The market mechanism and the markets are where the exchange happens, and the commercial transactions take place in our economy now. If the private sector is allowed to thrive, the tax revenue grows. Essential to this is that the state provides the environment for us to thrive: water, infrastructure such as roads and functioning cities, education and health. The household—where we all live—is often invisible, yet so many of our households are stressed, impoverished, unsafe spaces or headed by children. The commons, as Raworth explains, is a concept that is not well understood, but it’s where we come together as a community and co-create valuable things such as working together to improve our schools, grow healthy food and improve livelihoods. It’s about generating trust and
MAYBE WE CAN BEGIN TO FIND WAYS TO PUT SOUTH AFRICA BACK ON THE PATH OF GROWTH WE HOPED WOULD BE REALISED AT THE ADVENT OF OUR DEMOCRACY
mutual respect, and doing things for each other because it’s the right thing to do. Is this too idealistic? I don’t think so. And neither does the city of Amsterdam, which has decided to embark on the doughnut economic model to mend the havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic. An article in The Guardian explains that earlier this year the municipality of Amsterdam “adopted the doughnut model as the starting point for public policy decisions, the first city in the world to make such a commitment”. In an interview with Amsterdam’s Deputy Mayor Marieke van Doorninck, she says: “It is not just a hippy way at looking at the world,” and cites the fact that 20% of the city’s residents are unable to cover their basic needs after paying their rent, and that only 12% of the 60 000 applicants for social housing are successful. One solution may be to build more homes. but in doing so they have to consider their carbon dioxide emissions—which are 31% above 1990 levels. Van Doorninck says the city plans to regulate construction to ensure builders use materials that are as often as possible recycled and bio-based, such as wood. But at the same time, policymakers have to address how investment in real estate pushes up the prices, and what to do about this. Another example explained in the feature is that “the port of Amsterdam is the world’s single largest importer of cocoa beans, mostly from west Africa, where the labour is often highly exploitative. It gives space to talk about whether you want to be the place where products are being stored that are produced by child labour or by other forms of labour exploitation,”
BEYOND THE HORIZON
Professor Owen Skae says Van Doorninck. So, coming back to my own home city of Makhanda: We haven’t formally adopted the doughnut model, but our local economic development (LED) cluster is talking about the model and how we can use it as a framework or tool to create a more inclusive city through the Makhanda Circle of Unity that was formed on 30 July 2019. It’s a collaborative forum established for the fulfilment of an inclusive and purposeful approach for the socio-economic development of Makhanda and its surrounds, which aims to bring together all relevant and interested voices, communities and stakeholders in a spirit of problem solving, partnership and civic participation. It has a number of clusters that are designed to operationalise its mandate: LED, Food Security, Education, Big City, Community Engagement and Communications. The Schools Leadership Programme is part of the education cluster. It was established five years
ago by the vice-chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, initially to bring together and engage with the principals at several state schools in Makhanda on leadership and good governance. This grew to include the deputy principals, heads of department and now it also includes the learners. This programme is achieving the vice-chancellor’s vision of increasing the number of learners from township schools in Makhanda who are now studying at Rhodes University. Education is one of our critical resources, as we’re an education-based rural city. The way the LED cluster works is through integration; so, for example, the food security cluster has linkages to the community engagement cluster, so, for example, the pandemic crisis response of food parcels—which are not sustainable over the long term—then evolves into people growing their own vegetables and people running community kitchens as a small business.
The LED also has to think holistically, as we have also just lived through a prolonged drought; and if there is not enough water, people cannot water their vegetables. This is where the municipal or state-level infrastructure and input is essential in the form of installing rainwater tanks and promoting the sustainable use of water—including prudent use of boreholes, as this uses up the groundwater. The doughnut model tries to create balance at every level. I certainly don’t want to claim the doughnut model is being strongly implemented here, but there’s evidence that aspects of it are beginning to work in the spirit of public–private partnerships. Despite the sceptics, we are surprised by how it has gained traction. And if we can build on this, it really could begin to make meaningful impact at all levels. But—and there’s always a ‘but’— nothing is going to change in this city or in this country or in this world, without honesty and trust. ■
■ Owen Skae is an associate professor and director of Rhodes Business School. He is also a board member of the Good Governance Academy. Twitter: @owenskae
BEYOND THE HORIZON
THE NUMBERS GAME
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, competition in the banking sector has intensified further between legacy banks and the new kids on the block that are better positioned to serve customers digitally. Who will emerge the stronger?
he COVID-19 pandemic has had
devastating effects on global economics, none more so than the South African economy which was already in a recession before the outbreak. The banking sector had been regarded as ripe for disruption, intensifying the battle between old legacy banks such as Absa and Standard Bank, and new entrants such as TymeBank and Discovery Bank. In this altered business landscape, the legacy banks that thrive will be those that can best compete with the newcomers in the sector, to the benefit of clients.
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For detailed insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the banking sector, Tribe Business Magazine approached Victor Mupunga, research analyst at Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Securities. He pinpointed areas that need improvement, and highlighted the importance of being digitally enabled to stay ahead of the competition—and the times. ■ Between legacy and newentrant banks, which do you think has the edge? We’re still in the midst of the crisis, so it’s probably too early to call the
winner. However, we believe that as we come out of the crisis and focus shifts from survival to growth in the medium- to long term, it will become apparent that the behaviours/trends that have been established during this crisis will favour digitally enabled banks. New entrants are well positioned when it comes to serving customers digitally, which makes them an increasing threat for legacy banks. ■ On which aspects should banks be focusing to stay ahead? Unlike the last decade where banks that thrived were those that quickly
BEYOND THE HORIZON
recovered from the global financial crisis unscathed, winners over the next decade will, in our view, be determined by which banks are best able to compete with new entrants into the banking industry. For traditional banks, how quickly and successfully they innovate their legacy businesses to meet clients’ rising expectations will be key in determining winners. Competition within this industry is likely to increase as more capital is directed toward disruptive fintech. The big banks will have to fight harder for every incremental client. ■ What, currently, are the strengths and weaknesses of our major and challenger banks? Challenger banks tend to ‘start from scratch’ i.e. they have no legacy IT systems to take into account, expensive branches or head office costs. This allows them to have a fully digital offering that results in lower costs (no branches and fewer staff numbers). Because they’re smaller and fully digital, they tend to be nimble, less bureaucratic and can target customers’ exact pain points e.g. waiting days for loan approval or completing paperwork. Two weaknesses are that, firstly, it takes time to build the name recognition and customer confidence that the major banks have, which results in most consumers using challenger bank accounts as secondary accounts as opposed to as their primary account where salaries are deposited. This, however, will likely be less of a concern for challenger banks launched by established financial services groups, such as Discovery. Secondly, challenger banks tend to have a limited product suite. It takes time to build the full product suite that major banks have, so clients with very complex needs may still favour the larger banks because they’re able to aggregate all their affairs.
Big banks’ main weaknesses are their legacy IT operations that were built decades ago as well as large cost bases. Any changes to their IT systems tend to be gradual, as the big banks cannot risk any major downtime. Large cost bases will continue impacting profitability, particularly in an environment where customers are less likely to use traditional banking channels such as branches and even ATMs. ■ Which forces can be expected to undermine banks in this current climate? Fast-changing client needs and expectations as a result of new offerings by new entrants. This includes better service and lower costs. Customers will expect to get better remote/digital services as provided by new competitors. The loyalty exhibited historically by bank customers in not changing bank accounts is not a certainty in the digital era where younger generations are digitally savvy and fully aware of competitor products. Secondly, with most challenger banks highlighting their lower fees versus incumbents, customer expectations in terms of fees will likely change. If a few banks are offering a specific service at no cost, it becomes increasingly difficult for
DURING TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, SUCH AS WE’RE SEEING DURING THE PANDEMIC, CONSUMERS TEND TO GRAVITATE TOWARD VALUE OFFERINGS
any competitor to justify charging for the same service. To somewhat counteract these forces, offering simpler and transparent offerings would likely position incumbents well. ■ Is there room for innovation? Innovation and new tech generally result in lowering the cost of doing business. Take the cost of acquiring a new customer (customer acquisition cost): They are significantly higher for traditional banks compared to new entrants that rely fully on tech. A local case of how innovation/ tech lowers costs is TymeBank. Account opening is paperless, as the company uses biometrics at its kiosks linked to the Department of Home Affairs to authenticate applicants’ particulars. Total staff numbers are a fraction of what’s required in a typical bank, despite opening over a million accounts. ■ How is COVID-19 changing consumer behaviour? During the most stringent lockdown measures, customer volumes going into branches and using ATMs were down between 40% to 60%. We don’t expect these numbers to fully bounce back post-lockdown. Customers who might have trialled some form of remote banking during lockdown are likely to stick with it and expect more bank services to be offered remotely. Furthermore, during tough economic times, consumers tend to gravitate toward value offerings. This translates to lower bank fees or higher interest rates on deposits. ■ Is there room for both legacy banks and new entrants? Certainly. We expect both to exist, but with challenger banks gaining more market share, particularly in segments of the market that are either underserved or where consumers are more sensitive to fees. ■
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DOWN TO BUSINESS
DOWN TO BUSINESS A look at how South African companiesâ€”large and small, established and fledglingâ€”are surmounting the challenges of the business landscape and reformulating the accepted models for success
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INSIDE: 052 • PATRICK MAVROS How to develop a luxury brand on the continent
056 • YOCO Documenting the damage to—and the recovery of—business in the wake of COVID-19
058 • CONTRACT HARDWARE Going from strength to strength in the vast ironmongery trade
060 • SIEMENS Creating value not only for employees and stakeholders, but customers and society as well
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Dazzling gold jewellery inspired by the intriguing sea urchin
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DESIGNED BY NATURE
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How PATRICK MAVROS is bringing the beauty of Africa to the world through extraordinary jewellery and sculptures inspired by Zimbabwe’s wildlife
Tavonga Jacqueline Manyonga
t all began with one pair of earrings.
Intended as a loving gift for his then-fiancée Catja, Patrick Mavros handcraftedtherose-shapedjewelleryin 1978whilerecuperatingfromillness—he was still a baker at that time. When she wore them to the local salon, her hairdresserimmediatelynoticedthem and requested her own pair. Soon the other ladies in the salon also expressed theirdesireforthesedelicatelybeautiful handworks. Now,decadeslater,PatrickMavrosisa successfulfamily-runcompany,withall fouroftheMavrossonsalsolendingtheir creativityandexpertisetothebusiness. Theiruniqueluxuryproductsrepresenta
“safariofadventure,romanceandabove all unquestionable quality”. Their rationale behind starting the business was to develop a luxury brand on the continent.AmericahasTiffany&Co.,and FrancehasHermès—sowhynotPatrick Mavros for Africa? In addition to men’s and women’s jewellery in 18-carat gold and sterling silver, their range includes homeware suchasteaspoons,cocktailswizzlesticks, napkin rings, as well as beautiful sculptures,candelabras,paperweights, placecard holders and pen pots. Every single piece has been designed by a member of the Mavros family. ThePatrickMavrosheadquartersin
thehillyoutskirtsofHarare,Zimbabweis operated out of a studio and wildlife sanctuary.It’shereintheUmwimsiValley wherePatrickandCatjabroughtuptheir foursons—Alexander,Forbes,Benjamin and Patrick Jr—in an environmentthat honed their creativity and ignited their passion for the business. Piecesarealso made and sold in their Mauritius atelier (headed by Forbes and his wife Kate), with other stores in Harare, Nairobi and London. Kate herself is a very talented jewellery designer, originally from America, and is responsible for many of the Patrick Mavros collections. Aswiththatveryfirstpairofearrings, everyitemmadebytheMavrosfamilyin their House of Jewels is infused with love—loveoftheirart,andloveofAfrica. Thiscareandattentionisevidentinevery facet of the business: from design and production to customer service. It’s all about bringing the beauty of Africatotheworldthroughextraordinary jewellery and sculptures inspired by Zimbabwe’swildlife.TheMavrosfamily feels most African products tend to be
EVERY ITEM MADE BY THE MAVROS FAMILY IN THEIR HOUSE OF JEWELS IS INFUSED WITH LOVE—LOVE OF THEIR ART, AND LOVE OF AFRICA
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mere curios, which can become gimmicky; so they attempt instead to update native art or traditions for the modern, luxury market. For instance, Forbes’ElephantHairBangleisbasedon the centuries-old African bracelet that was crafted by elders when a young hunterorwarriorkilledhisfirstelephant. Itwasbelievedthatwearingthebracelet wouldimbuethewarriorwiththemight of the elephant on his journeys across the continent. Alltheirpiecesaretimelessheirlooms that can be handed down from
WITH SUCH A FOCUS ON HERITAGE, IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT PATRICK MAVROS PUTS THE SPOTLIGHT ON WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
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generationtogeneration.Indeed,family heritage is a hallmark of the Patrick Mavrosbrand.They’reimmenselyproud to be the oldest European family in Zimbabwe, and to be part of the Great African Story.
With such a focus on heritage, it’s no surprise that Patrick Mavros puts the spotlight on wildlife conservation for generations to come. Not only are there collections embodying the
Patrick Mavros atelier in Mauritius
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WAX ON, WAX OFF HOW PATRICK MAVROS SILVER SCULPTURES ARE MADE
Inside the flagship London store beauty of African animals such as the crocodile, hippo and elephant— but also collections that mirror the wonders of the seas and oceans. Take, for instance, the Ocean Tides Collection designed by Kate: It’s inspired by the tides in Mauritius which, once or twice a year, go so low that the coral reefs are exposed, revealing the true colours of the undersea world; Patrick Mavros has sourced gemstones reflecting these soft hues. Interestingly, Kate’s namesake, the Duchess of Cambridge, was seen sporting earrings from this gorgeous collection during the COVID-19
lockdown in the United Kingdom. And Patrick Jr’s Pangolin Collection, in collaboration with photographer Adrian Stern, is raising incredible awareness on a global scale for the plight of the world’s most trafficked mammal, the shy pangolin anteater. Ten percent of sales from this jewellery collection is donated to the Tikki Hywood Foundation’s Trust in Zimbabwe to help continue its conservation efforts. (See this edition’s The Object feature for a look at one of the pieces in this remarkably well-crafted collection.) ■
Every silver sculpture is made using the ancient technique of lost wax casting, refined over many years in the Patrick Mavros workshop to yield exceptional results. A handmade wax model is encased in liquid rubber which, once set, is carefully cut away to provide a ‘negative’. Into this cavity, molten wax is injected, allowed to cool and then removed from the rubber mould in the form of the original. After thorough checking, the new wax model is covered with investment powder and fired. The heat melts the wax, which trickles out through a tiny aperture. All that remains in the plaster is a perfect hollow in which every surface detail of the wax model is captured. Molten silver is then poured into the plaster mould. Once the silver has cooled, the plaster mould is broken open to reveal the silver casting. The casting is then cleaned and checked to see that every detail of the original has been faithfully reproduced in silver. Finally, the piece is hallmarked and polished.
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UPS AND DOWNS
COVID-19 is resetting the rules of business, particularly for the SMME sector. Inside the numbers provided by YOCO’s Small Business Recovery Monitor
he coronavirus pandemic is
demanding everything from everyone to forge a successful future. It has redrawn and reset many of the rules of life and business as we know them, demanding agility from age-old industries and innovation from the warriors of the new economy. With international, regional and national value chains in upheaval, little if any attention has been paid to the devastation wrought on South Africa’s small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector, employer of 47% of the workforce and contributor of a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product. And into that breach has stepped Yoco, a financial services platform for small businesses that has been documenting the damage—and now the recovery—through its
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Small Business Recovery Monitor, a live data resource on small business economic activity. “The numbers have been insightful in picking up key trends and impacts across different sectors of the economy since the lockdown was imposed [in mid-March],” says Katlego Maphai, co-founder and CEO of Yoco. “The COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown have been devastating, and the data is incredibly valuable to the small business community and industry leaders in their planning.” The index, which is updated daily, indicates the turnover of Yoco’s 90 000-strong SMME merchant base against a baseline from prior to lockdown. This is further split into provinces and industries to show the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to outbreak
hotspots and hardest hit industries. From a low point on 10 April, when small business turnover was only 8% of the pre COVID-19 crisis turnover, the index shows what a month can really mean for small businesses around the country. In the three weeks following the move to Level 4, that number rose to 44% for the entire country. It has since accelerated to an average 56% since the start of lockdown Level 3—with the Northern Cape exhibiting the highest levels at 73%, followed by Limpopo at 64% and then the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and North West at 60%. The Western Cape and Eastern Cape are stuck at the bottom, at half of pre-COVID activity levels. The index is the first of its kind in South Africa and allows Yoco to share what has previously been
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proprietary data. It furthermore gives leaders and policymakers a means to forecast what may lie ahead in their provinces or industries, as well as an opportunity to frame new consumer behaviours. ‘’We have seen major shifts since the beginning of the relaxation of the lockdown. For instance in shopping trends, peak turnover is coming on Friday as opposed to Saturday, with the weekend in general seeing a large drop-off in turnover for traders under the lockdown restrictions,’’ Maphai says. The Recovery Monitor data has detailed the weekend dips across industry and provinces. While the working week average climbed steadily, weekend trading remained below 40% on Saturdays and below 30% on Sundays, suggesting changing consumer habits that will be key to analyse as we navigate this crisis. While a dire picture is largely uniform across the country and industries, there have been silver linings for some businesses. For example, many SME hardware stores have been trading at 150% compared to pre-COVID numbers. This is likely due to people finding themselves at home with the time to complete all their long postponed DIY projects. Similarly, dentistry has been less affected by lockdown than other segments, as they continue trading at 90% compared to pre-COVID levels despite being high-touch in nature. More time at home means more time to get things done that people might previously have put off. The latest figures for the two weeks 9–23 July painted a depressing picture. SME turnover dropped by 12%, driven by loadshedding and the impact of the new restrictions imposed on 13 July (reinstatement of the alcohol ban
and curfew). Yoco also publishes a quarterly report, the Yoco Small Business Pulse, which dives into business sentiment and asks small business owners simple questions about their business environment: Will it improve? Will it get worse? How will you navigate the challenges you see ahead of you? From the survey, a sentiment score is composed. As expected, the 2020 first quarter report painted a grim picture, as it was compiled during the depths of the hard lockdown in March when business sentiment took a hard hit: The survey recorded a 47-point drop from Q4 in 2019. Many small business owners communicated difficult stories of what lay before them. But the picture is now changing, albeit slowly. For the rest of 2020, responding to COVID-19 is demanding a willingness and readiness to prepare one’s business for as many outcomes as one
LISTENING AND QUICKLY RESPONDING TO THE ESSENTIAL NEEDS OF CUSTOMERS IS KEY DURING THIS TIME
possibly can. The road to recovery will not be linear, and it will test the resilience and dexterity of small business in South Africa. Yoco’s advice for business owners is to plan as much as possible so as not to get caught on the back foot again—and, where possible, to seek support in advance. “Give yourself room to breathe again, and with that renewed spirit, forge ahead to solve the essential needs of your customers,” Maphai says. Listening and quickly responding to the essential needs of customers is key during this time, and will not only unlock opportunities but will introduce valuable moments of stability through progress. “Making our data more visible is in part a way for us to share how small businesses are coping and recovering. But on a larger scale, it’s about providing authorities and leaders with information to help them make better decisions going forward,” Maphai says. ‘’Although no one can make 100% sound decisions during the pandemic, we can do more with what we have and feel more comfortable with our choices.” ■ The Small Business Recovery Monitor is an anonymous opensource index and available for public use and download here: www.yoco. co.za/blog/covid-19-recoverymonitor.
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FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH How CONTRACT HARDWARE is staying ahead of the curve in the vast ironmongery trade By Robbie Stammers
ontract Hardware was
established in 1987 and has now become the largest architectural ironmongery group in the countryâ€”having expanded to open branches and showrooms in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The company forms part of the Contract Group, which also
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owns Contract Aluminium. The ironmongery trade is vast and ever changing, leading Contract Hardware to find different ways of staying innovative and ahead of the curve. Hence, in 2009, it launched a manufacturing and fabricating branch in order to produce its own and custom-made products.
The company has found, sourced and created top-quality fittings and ironmongery solutions across a vast variety of industries for numerous prestigious buildings. Clients have included major construction companies across southern Africa, such as Cape Town International Airport, Moses Mabhida Stadium
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(Durban), Mall of Africa (Gauteng), The Taj Hotel Cape Town, as well as the Yacht Club and Silo District at the V&A Waterfront. Tribe Business Magazine asked managing director Duane Williams to give a rundown of Contract Hardware’s business strategy. Tell us more about your background, prior to arriving at Contract Hardware? After completing my studies in accounting at Unisa, I moved to Mauritius where I began to work with my father-in-law in marketing and sales within his ironmongery company. I was fortunate in that I was mentored and guided by him, learning the fundamentals of how to run a business. After six years, in 2003, I made the decision to return to South Africa to partner with Ian and Simon Davenall, who are still my business partners today [as the group CEO and Joburg CEO, respectively]. It was then that Contract Hardware Cape was established. Which products and services does Contract Hardware offer clients? Contract Hardware is the largest architectural ironmongery supplier in southern Africa, with a glass showroom in Cape Town—the only one of its kind in South Africa. We offer a full range of ironmongery from well-known manufacturers such as Dorma and ASSA ABLOY, as well as our exclusive imported ranges: Martinelli and Reguitti. Added to this are our bathroom and washroom accessory ranges. Our elite architectural ironmongery is specifically created to suit any space in need of finishes. Because we own a manufacturing and fabricating branch, we can guarantee innovative and quality products plus excellent service
delivery. Furthermore, our Architect-Assist service supports architects in their decision-making process by offering a full specification service. Architect-Assist is one of your more recent strategies, to offer architects an unbiased ironmongery specification service. What else differentiates you from your competition? Our relationships with our existing clients are what set us apart from our competition. We offer superior products and excellent service, which in turn ensures we receive quality referrals. Second to this, our innovative and top quality products—which are often tailormade—ensure our clients remain loyal to our business. Lastly, we pride ourselves on competitive pricing and try to find solutions to our clients’ needs. We are a customer-centric business. The Contract Group of companies has branches in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. How does the company ensure
OUR INNOVATIVE AND TOP QUALITY PRODUCTS— WHICH ARE OFTEN TAILORMADE—ENSURE OUR CLIENTS REMAIN LOYAL TO OUR BUSINESS
all branches stay consistent in providing clients with all the necessary information on the latest products? Our management team regularly attends trade shows locally and globally to keep up to date with the latest in technology, design and innovation. We keep our clients informed through various marketing and communications activities such as newsletters and our social channels. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected business? It’s not all doom and gloom. Production and supply chains are likely to rebound once there are signs that the coronavirus has been contained. There’s no reason South African contractors should be reeling from the effects of dwindling supplies from manufacturers in the Far East, when there are quality hardware and products made right here in South Africa. Contract Hardware’s local manufacturing and fabricating branch provides customers with a wide range of innovative, custom-made products, and prides itself on quality service delivery that exceeds customers’ expectations. What has been the highlight of your career? Being awarded Best Service Provider by one of the then Big Five construction companies, Neil Muller Construction, in 2013. The ultimate highlight for me personally has been becoming a business owner. What should we look forward to seeing from Contract Hardware in the near future? Expansion of our specification team in order to offer more robust support services to architects and interior designers. ■
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Siemens, in partnership with the CSIR, has developed a locally engineered ventilator for use in state hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic
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INGENUITY FOR LIFE
There is still huge potential to be unlocked in Africa when it comes to innovation, and SIEMENS is taking the lead—even during the COVID-19 pandemic By Evans Manyonga
iemens is a true innovation
leader in Africa, having had a presence on the continent for almost 160 years. Not only is it a powerhouse across the electrification, automation and digitalisation value chain but the company also seeks to play a constructive role in social development among the communities in which it has a presence. One of the oldest engineering companies in the world, the Siemens name can be found in almost every electrical application—with technology that allows countries to successfully navigate the modern digital era. And it all began in 1847, in a small workshop in a back courtyard in Berlin, Germany. Little did Werner von Siemens know how his simple design for the pointer telegraph would mark the beginning of a manufacturing giant. Digitalisation for advancement is a hallmark of Siemens’ mandate. There is still huge potential to be unlocked in Africa when it comes to innovation. Recently, Siemens Energy was approved by global shareholders. This latest core element aims to provide answers to the question: How can we meet the growing demand for electricity and protect our climate at the same time? By building new energy
systems across the globe, Siemens can contribute to fighting climate change by making sustainable, reliable and affordable energy possible. Tribe Business Magazine spoke with Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo, about some of the company’s existing projects in Africa (and South Africa in particular) and how ‘business as usual’ has had to change due to COVID-19. Planning during the pandemic Dall’Omo’s leadership extends beyond South African borders, and she is entrusted with multiple responsibilities that now also include managing the risks of the pandemic. “While we’re based in
COVID-19 MADE IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR THAT WE NEED TO WORK ON OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOW PEOPLE LIVE IN CITIES
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South Africa, we’re currently responsible for 24 countries. COVID-19 has taken up much of our time, because we need to make sure everybody is informed. All the other countries that are assigned to us don’t have such a strong industrial base. So, we made sure they’re kitted out with PPE [personal protective equipment], sanitisers and whatever else they don’t necessarily have in their own country. We’re also bringing communities together during this difficult time,” she explains. Planning is of the utmost importance. “We have jobs outside of South Africa, so planning how our staff will execute their contracts during this difficult time is one of my responsibilities. This is an arduous task, as currently the borders are closed; the South African departments of Home Affairs and Health are assisting with special permits to make sure business can continue,” she says. The last four months have transformed Siemens’ entire company into a digital and online
WE’RE THERE FOR SOCIETY, OUR CUSTOMERS, OUR EMPLOYEES AND STAKEHOLDERS. WE MAKE SURE WE CREATE VALUE FOR EVERYBODY.
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business. “Under normal circumstances, we would’ve met in person to do this interview, but now we’re conducting the interview using an online platform! So, this new normal definitely comes with some adjustments in how business is being done during the COVID-19 pandemic—and how it’ll be done post COVID-19,” Dall’Omo adds. Beneficial partnership Siemens believes in teaming up and has proven that partnerships add significant value to the success of any organisation or company. As a result, it has built up several partnerships with numerous entities over the years, among the most notable being with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)—a partnership that has proven especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Siemens has been a long-standing partner of the CSIR in South Africa and has co-operated in various fields of research, including manufacturing and mining. In March this year, when Europe
said it did not have enough ventilators, Siemens decided to partner with the CSIR to develop a locally engineered version. Dall’Omo explains that Siemens designed and supplied the software, so it would have two outlets. “One is our software and the team centre using our Product Lifecycle Management software that enables us to stimulate digital twins so that you don’t have to go into prototype production and, ultimately, optimise. This is because you don’t want to have a product that’s ISO-certified and can’t be used post-pandemic in the supply chain. It should be used whenever it’s needed and not just as a crisis solution. If the correct paperwork is not done and the standards are not adhered to, it might not be supplied later into the market—and these are really innovative ideas.” Throughout this process, Siemens has created innovative solutions that should stay on the market long after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. In July, the CSIR started
Siemens has partnered with Legae Larona to manufacture and distribute 20 000 face masks to the most vulnerable communities
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production on the ventilators with a team of suppliers. It has funding for 10 000 ventilators in South Africa. From the value, engineering and software side, Siemens is contributing about R8 million to that project to make sure things are moving forward. Dall’Omo adds, “We’re currently also working with the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng to identify how we can participate in alleviating the health crisis specifically in the hospital environment. We’re proud to have been the technology partner on this project with the CSIR to provide the Product Lifecycle Management software support.” Safer, smarter buildings Siemens’ smart buildings are also helping in the fight against COVID-19. The company has quite a number of solutions available, as smart buildings are dynamic. These include (but are not limited to) hospitals, offices, malls and airports. “Smart buildings are intelligent mechanisms specifically made to manage the number of
people in a building,” Dall’Omo explains. “These buildings have automatic temperature checks done—reducing the need for people to monitor temperatures at an entrance, and thereby ensuring security guards don’t risk being exposed to COVID-19. This assures people that whenever they go into a smart building, they’re protected. In this way, there is also optimised usage of space. Smart buildings give you security in terms of taking care of your residents, employees, visitors and guests.” The electricity conundrum Economic activity in South Africa has been greatly affected by the challenges facing its energy infrastructure; the severe electricity supply constraints the country has had to deal with since 2008 have slowly been depleting the economy. There is an urgent need to adopt more robust and extensive solutions to meet industrial, commercial and household needs. Businesses and industries need to be able to access electricity as required in order to perform at
their optimum— power cuts and antiquated infrastructure hinder this progress. The construction of a conventional simple cycle gas power plant takes around 12 months—this is too long, even for many fast-developing regions. Siemens’ Fast Track power solutions are designed to provide electricity in six months or less, and are tailored to the needs of rapidly developing countries. A low-carbon future With South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan, which developed the preferred energy mix with which to meet electricity needs to 2030, the country is committed to transition to a low-carbon economy. At least 17 800 megawatts of this 2030 target are expected to be derived from renewable energy sources. A significant share of this new electricity capacity will be developed and produced by independent power producers. Siemens aims to play an even greater role in the South African
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renewables space through its involvement in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme to supply energy for peak grid stabilisation—providing technology for wind and solar power as well as gas. Bigger versions of these solutions are being used by international companies active in South Africa to aid in their global carbon emissions reduction programmes, Dall’Omo adds. Siemens itself is committed to turning its operations carbonneutral by 2030 to help protect the planet and achieve sustainable economic advantages for the company. Decarbonisation brings about sustainable growth and creates more jobs in the renewable energy sector. Since the launch of its Energy Efficiency Programme, Siemens has successfully managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 41%. Furthermore, investments in energy efficiency projects led to 15% reduced energy costs. And globally, 60% of the electricity consumption at sites is covered by renewables. Siemens also receives numerous enquiries from multinationals to offset their footprint on the carbon emissions side, hence it has a portfolio specifically around solutions for photovoltaics and on smaller gas turbine applications. Last year, the Energy Ministry put a proposal forward that a small-scale embedded generator plant could generate from 1MW to 10MW of power without a licence. Dall’Omo says this still needs to be legalised and implemented in the legislation, but once it starts happening, it will unravel quite a huge amount of investment, specifically in the private space.
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Mainly because private users will choose to have their industrial electricity generation on site—and they can do a lot with 10MW. Although it may not be sufficient to run a full mining operation, she says it will be sufficient to run some production activities. All about the people Several characteristics differentiate Siemens from its competition, but one particular aspect stands out: The company is all about engaging society. It wants to be there for—and create a difference in the lives of—society, its customers, its employees and its stakeholders. “Conducting ethical business globally and in South Africa is extremely important to us because it coincides with business to society and also with how we conduct our business. Everyone talks about the corruption levels in African countries; at Siemens, we make sure our business relations are in no way tainted,” Dall’Omo asserts. Women helping women When asked how women could be encouraged to take on more senior positions in the corporate world, just as she has done successfully, Dall’Omo says: “Women can climb the corporate ladder and break the glass ceiling if they work on having a strong network within their teams, because men by nature have strong networks that foster support. “Being a CEO of a company is a great job that I enjoy, but it’s also sometimes a very lonely job because the buck stops with you—there’s nobody else. At the
Siemens CEO for Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo
end of the day, you’re ultimately responsible and also have to make the decisions. That means you need to have a strong network to bounce off the ideas or solutions you have. This is important because nobody is perfect; we will only survive if women take care of other women and give them the kind of mentorship and leadership that can take them to the top and help them stay there.” In climbing the corporate ladder, women are no different than men and the challenges they face are the same. “Being at the top comes with its fair share of challenges for everyone—nothing comes easy. Women need to be ready for those challenges and not take them personally. It’s important to maintain their drive even when faced with harsh and extremely difficult situations,” she concludes. ■
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
UNTOUCHED, UNFORGETTABLE JOCK SAFARI LODGE OFFERS AN AUTHENTIC WILDLIFE EXPERIENCE WITHIN SOUTH AFRICA’S FLAGSHIP KRUGER NATIONAL PARK BY EVANS MANYONGA
amed after the loyal and
courageous local canine hero immortalised in Sir Percy FitzPatrick’s Jock of the Bushveld, Jock Safari Lodge was founded in 1982 by the Niven family who are descendants of the famed author. It
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was the first private concession granted within the Kruger, South Africa’s largest national park; today, the iconic lodge is known for its service excellence and warm hospitality, world-class facilities and unforgettable wildlife encounters.
The Kruger National Park is unrivalled in its diversity and is home to an impressive number of different species including 148 mammals, 505 birds, 404 trees, 53 fish, 35 amphibians and 118 reptile species. Situated at the confluence
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THE GREAT OUTDOORS
of the Mitomeni (Shangaan for ‘jackalberry tree’) and Biyamiti (Shangaan for ‘place of many trees’) rivers, tucked away in the southwestern corner of the park, Jock Safari Lodge takes full advantage of the 6 000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights for excellent Big Five game viewing. Owned and managed by the Swiss Caleo Foundation, conservation is the cornerstone of Jock Safari Lodge. As custodian to this rich natural heritage, the lodge is committed to maintaining a low impact upon the footprint, in line with the foundation’s ethics to
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protect, restore and sustain wildlife and flora resources. Guests are guided on a sensory journey that encapsulates not only wilderness adventures and conservation, but also history, heritage and fine South African food and wine at a luxury 5-star establishment. After a complete revamp in 2018, the décor of Jock Safari Lodge pays homage to its rich history and heritage with the addition of modern comforts and conveniences enjoyed by discerning travellers. Setting the tone with vintage-style furniture, leather travel trunks and
historical pieces combined with contemporary design, the lodge is reminiscent of the bygone era of great African explorations and safaris. Each of the 12 spacious and secluded thatched suites offers luxury and privacy. Complete with en-suite bathrooms, the suites have extensive private decks and an outdoor Victorian bath and shower to make the most of the surrounding unspoilt wilderness. A private plunge pool and an enclosed sala (day bed) are perfect for outdoor living, daydreaming and sleepouts—all with uninterrupted views
outdoors onto wooden decks with a heated swimming pool and sun loungers, while an elevated bar and lounge with a firepit serve signature drinks and provide opportunities for game viewing day and night. The boma is the perfect setting for a traditional barbeque, while stairs lead down to the riverbed where guests may toast the African sunset and feast alfresco on delicious fresh and wholesome dishes during the warmer months. ■
of the riverbed. Children of all ages will receive a warm welcome here. The main lodge accommodates children from the age of 6, while younger children may find a home-away-from-home at Fitzpatrick’s Lodge where families can experience the wonders of the wilderness together. Fitzpatrick’s Lodge sleeps only six guests and has a communal lounge and TV room, spacious indoor and outdoor dining areas with a private boma, as well as a deck with a swimming pool and views across the riverbed. The enclosed family unit offers two luxury suites and bathrooms, leading to a private lounge area, deck and plunge pool; separately located, the third suite is also completely private, with its own deck and plunge pool. Jock Safari Lodge also offers a
dedicated Kids on Safari programme (with kiddies’ drives, arts & crafts and gift packs), as well as babysitting services to take care of the little ones while mom and dad are game viewing. Apart from these game drives with an experienced guide, guests can also partake in enlightening wilderness walks and visits to rock art sites. More relaxing pursuits include birdwatching, spa treatments and stargazing. For those wishing to spend some time on immaculate greens, complimentary transfers are offered from the lodge to the nearby Leopard Creek Country Club with its elegant clubhouse sited on the bank of the Crocodile River. Spacious relaxation areas invite nature in with unobstructed views across the bush. At the main lodge, the lounge and dining areas spill
ALL IN THE DETAILS Jock Safari Lodge is situated halfway between the Skukuza and Malelane gates of the Kruger National Park—approximately an hour’s drive from Malelane. See website for directions and information on road transfers. (Flights are currently suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.) Tel: +27 (0) 13 010 0019 firstname.lastname@example.org www.jocksafarilodge.com Facebook: @JockSafariLodge Twitter: @JockSafari Instagram: @jocksafari YouTube: JockSafariLodge
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ALONG FOR THE
In this edition, we review a sleek and powerful Volvo and a revamped Renault
three-cylinder, direct-injection powertrain option for the XC40 will Volvo XC40 T3 petrol engine was developed be added later. In South Africa, the Volvo’s cars are not ordinarily in-house using the same modular XC40 T3 is now available in manual, renowned for their sexiness. design as Volvo’s 4-cylinder Drive-E with the T3 automatic due to follow Reliable, steady, safe (with a engines. The 3-cylinder powertrain later next year. With 115kW and capital S) are words that typically comes with a six-speed manual 265Nm on tap, the T3 performs come to mind. Enter the bold and transmission (with an optional exceptionally well and delivers beautiful new XC40. eight-speed transmission to follow). excellent fuel efficiency. This Volvo is perhaps one of the Furthermore, the powertrain has The new evolution has resulted most well designed, sophisticated been designed for integration into in a bespoke interior with a newly and intuitive compact sedan models twin engine plug-in hybrid cars. A designed crystal gear knob and the around; the right dose of class hybridised and pure electric attractive Driftwood deco, as well separates this mini beast from the as the revered 9-inch pretenders. It has a quiet, Sensus Connect underlying power; not the touchscreen and digital power of a mighty instrument cluster. engine’s roar but rather PRICE TAGS (INCL. VAT) Functional practicality power expressed in XC40 T3 Manual Momentum R486 500 is a major focus: Smart world-class technology, XC40 T3 Manual lnscription R518 200 features like a removable functionality and style. XC40 T3 Manual R-Design R525 300 rubbish bin, cubby hole The new XC40 brings a XC40 D4 Geartronic AWD Momentum R599 000 hook, smartphone storage breath of fresh Swedish XC40 T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum R605 300 area and multi-adaptable air to the premium XC40 D4 Geartronic AWD Inscription R630 700 boot floor transform a compact SUV segment, XC40 T5 Geartronic AWD Inscription R637 000 sometimes messy car throwing away the XC40 D4 Geartronic AWD R-Design R637 800 interior into a place of rulebook to create a new XC40 T5 Geartronic AWD R-Design R644 100 organised efficiency. motoring experience. Evans Manyonga The all-new 1.5-litre T3
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R enault Sandero Stepway Techroad
As someone who’s reviewed cars for over a decade, I’ve never been a big Renault fan—but now I finally find myself swallowing my words. The new Sandero Stepway Techroad derivative clearly delivers on its value-for-money promise, with bespoke design and feature enhancements to boot. When the Sandero first entered the South African motoring landscape in February 2009, Renault’s key objective was to provide a high-value proposition in the entry-level passenger car segment. The roomy, robust and affordable newcomer fit in perfectly with customer needs and market trends. Fast-forward to 2020 and the Sandero Expression remains the entry-level model, followed by an accessible mid-level Stepway Expression derivative— with the new Stepway Techroad leading the line-up as the flagship model. These are all powered by Renault’s F1-inspired 900cc petrol Turbo 66kW engine mated with a manual 5-speed gearbox; it exudes amazing power, unparalleled responsiveness and driving pleasure thanks to low-end
torque. You’ll zoom from 0 to 100km/h in just 11.1 seconds, reaching a top speed of 169km/h— with competitively low fuel consumption. The refined Sandero range has a host of fitments exclusive to its class, including superb safety features as standard across the full range: front seat belts with load limiters; side airbags; ISOFIX fasteners for child and baby seats; three-point safety belt at the central rear seat; and EBA coupled with ABS and ESP+ASR—the only car in its class to sport this, making it the safest car for children within its class. And don’t forget the smart technologies: On-board Navigation, Smartphone Mirroring (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), ECO mode function, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a navigation system with map mode that will guide you to wherever you
PRICE TAGS Sandero Stepway Techroad Sandero Stepway Expression Sandero Stepway Plus Sandero Expression
R243 900 R223 900 R243 900 R209 900
want to go and keep a log history of your favourites. All this vehicle excellence is topped off with a fresh design and status-enhancing styling, inside and out: a generously proportioned interior, above-class average floor-to-roof clearance front and back, best-in-class boot space of 292 litres, integrated roof spoiler, roof bars, front and rear skid plates, wheel arch mouldings, front fog lights and higher ground clearance, among others. Now step up, Stepway Techroad, and take a bow with your stylish Gloss Black door mirrors, design decals, 16-inch two-tone Flex wheel covers with blue centre caps (that look just like alloys), blue detailing on the upholstery, leather-covered steering wheel and gear knob, electric windows and side mirrors, rear parking camera, plus the 17.8cm MediaNav touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation. Oh, and it drives great too… The Sandero range including the new Stepway Techroad comes with Renault’s 5-year/150 000km warranty together with a standard 2-year/30 000km service plan. Services are at 15 000km intervals. ■ Robbie Stammers
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WE GOTTA MAKE A CHANGE LET COVID-19 BRING OUT THE BEST IN HUMANITY! BY GASANT ABARDER
he world’s changing right before our
eyes. History will record 2020 as the biggest disrupter of the 21st century so far. COVID-19 is nothing like the Black Death of the 14th century, which is said to have claimed 50 million lives. Not yet, anyway. By mid-year, the global death toll stood at half a million and was climbing, with just over 9 million confirmed cases. COVID-19 represents disruption on an unprecedented scale. It is a Kodak moment. It’s the threat to the world that social media represents, with traditional media being too slow to react to the disruptors who would steal their advertising revenues. Those who are the fittest and most agile will survive in every sense—from our personal health to our livelihoods. The iconic rap artist, the late Tupac Shakur, was prophetic in his lyrics of the track “Changes”, released in 1998. It went: “We gotta make a change It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes Facemask Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live And let’s change the way we treat each other You see the old way wasn’t Hand Sanitizer working so it’s on us to do What we gotta do, to survive.” As we still grapple to define Hand Wash what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is, it has crept up on us. Our children and their teachers have been forced to use technology for learning and teaching.
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Our lifestyles have caught up with us, since those most at risk suffer from co-morbidities. Some have been forced to change their standard of living, too, with salaries being cut and some losing their jobs. The buzzword is the ‘New Normal’. Life will never go back to the way it was, they say. And they ask: How will the global economy recover? Every day, the virus creeps closer: from being a distant newsflash in China and Italy, to someone you know testing positive for COVID-19 or even dying. Humankind has survived worse. We recovered from the Black Death. In the last century, we lived through two world wars. When the biggest threat to mankind, HIV/Aids, threatened to wipe out millions of people, scientists developed drugs to manage the disease and increase lifespan and quality of life. Africa has led the way this time. South Africa in particular has played a leading role in combatting the pandemic and showing how to flatten the curve. Yes, mistakes have been made and the response hasn’t been perfect. But President Cyril Ramaphosa, when Private Drinking Bottle faced with the choice of saving lives in South Africa versus keeping the economy going, made the only Tissue realistic choice: He chose life. South Africa has perhaps the world’s biggest chasm of Vitamin C inequality between rich and poor. Add to this the reality that it also has among the highest HIV and TB infection rates in the world. It’s the
THE BIGGEST DISRUPTION COVID-19 HAS PRESENTED TO HUMANKIND HAS BEEN THE PAUSE
perfect storm. The alternative to choosing life would’ve been too ghastly to contemplate. Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump gambled on American lives by first insisting “The Chinese Virus”, as he put it, wasn’t as serious. Then he moved to daily press conferences filled with ambiguity, fake news and indecision. He even suggested doctors start using an as-yetuntested drug on COVID-19 patients. The American people paid a heavy price because of the arrogance of one man. And quietly, it was Africa that came up with the solutions. Researchers from universities on the southern tip of Africa collaborated to find answers. A postdoctoral scientist from the University of the Western Cape used the medical facilities at Stellenbosch University to grow the first lab sample of the virus so pharmaceutical companies could run tests in controlled environments. At UWC, too, researchers at the SA National Bioinformatics Institute worked with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to decode the genome sequence of the virus.
The breakthrough brings researchers closer to learning how to stop the spread of the disease and finding a vaccine. This is hardly a surprise. Our continent has long demonstrated it has the solutions for all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals—from food security to sustainable agriculture. We’ve also witnessed incredible innovation and resilience. Home industries shifted gears to become providers of masks and sanitising equipment. Fitness specialists quickly adapted to the ‘New Normal’ by offering exercise classes online via Zoom. Traditional businesses like butcheries, which had never dreamt of being in the e-commerce space, began delivering meat products from online orders. But the biggest disruption COVID-19 has presented to humankind, albeit at a heavy price, has been the pause. A long, pregnant pause where we’ve had to reassess our lives. A pause that forces us to confront our own mortality and humanity. We’ve seen the worst in humankind: the hoarders of toilet rolls and other consumables, leaving shelves depleted; the scourge of gender-based violence rising during lockdown; and the opportunistic COVIDpreneurs making money from the virus. We’ve also seen those working tirelessly in service to others so that the most vulnerable don’t starve to death. We’ve seen doctors, nurses, journalists and other essential workers on the frontlines risking their lives to save those of others and keep us informed. We’ve seen the right kind of leadership can lead to zero cases of COVID-19. New Zealand’s inspirational Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a case in point. When we look back on our lives, we won’t remember the 14-hour work days, or the hours spent poring over meaningless social media posts, or the thousands of kilometres racked up on our daily commute. We will remember moments spent with loved ones. We will remember that our planet has finite resources. We will remember that conversation we had over a special dinner with our significant other when we chose not to stare like zombies into our smartphones. ■
■ Gasant Abarder is a journalist and former editor of the Cape Argus and the Cape Times. He also served as the Western Cape regional executive editor of Independent Media and deputy chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum. His debut book, Monkey with a Grenade—an editor’s backstories of SA News, is set for release later this year.
THE JOKE’S ON US Is laughter the best medicine even in the COVID-19 lockdown? BY ROBBIE STAMMERS
y fellow South Africans… Now for my
next trick.” And with that, Cyril revealed he had nothing up his sleeves and turned his hands out to show us they were empty, too. Then he shot one hand down into the top hat and pulled out… nothing?! Where’s the white bunny, we asked perplexed? What type of magician was this? “Did you miss it?” our president asked. “I made alcohol and cigarettes disappear around our entire country!” Needless to say, the crowd did NOT go wild with rapturous applause. I think jokes about traumatic events are unavoidable. Making light of heavy things is how many people—including myself—cope. With any occurrence that tries our emotions, our automatic response is to lighten the mood. Hell, Saffers have enough material to keep comedians in business! That’s not to say this global pandemic is a joke. Far from it. In the last month I’ve lost my aunt to this awful virus. But to use an old cliché: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and laughter is a coping mechanism that has passed the test of time. Frankly, if it weren’t for laughter, most of us would simply curl into the foetal position and rock back and forth while sucking on our thumb until COVID-19 passes. When we came out the starting blocks on the Lockdown Shutdown, videos went viral with
clever parodies of famous songs, like Adele’s “Hello from the Other Side” being sung out of windows, or The Kiffness borrowing from Freddy Mercury to do their own “Lockdown Rhapsody”. Restaurants had signs saying, “No more Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline—touching hands, touching yours, touching mine” or “Has anyone tried putting 2020 into a bowl of rice?” Neighbourhoods painted rainbows and messages of blessing in chalk across their driveways. And we proudly clapped or blew our vuvuzelas on a Friday night at 8 p.m. to give a big thanks to our frontline service people fighting the good fight. Citizens ran around their gardens to keep fit, and dressed up just to take out their garbage bins. Then the lockdown was extended, and then some more. We tried to keep the faith and the funny bone intact. But Cyril got ‘cockblocked’ by a little lady called Nkosazana who took away the cigarettes he’d promised would return. She claimed smokers had bad lungs thanks to their own choices, and hospital beds should be prioritised for COVID patients. And “sharing a zol” was an issue in underprivileged areas where the virus could spread rapidly. Yet, we laughed when the “Zuma Zol” speech became a superb dance song. (By the way, dear DlaminiZuma, a UCT study has found that sharing cigarettes has increased by 570% since the lockdown. And we’ve all seen the images of you and illegal cigarette barons out on the town… but I digress!)
Then alcohol went back under lock and key and curfew was reinstated. Hotels and wellknown restaurants and bars closed their doors forever. Our humour was depleting as fast as our curve was rising. Taxis went back to 100% capacity and dared the government to even try and take them on. They didn’t. They did, however, decide it was justified to shoot water cannons at the peaceful protestors from the hospitality and travel industries. We went from being proud to completely gatvol as the unemployment and retrenchment numbers left the COVID numbers in their wake. And then loadshedding came back to add to our already substantial woes. The numbers lost in the most affected industries stand in the billions; job losses are of biblical proportions—and then our dear president tells the nation how many further billions have been skimmed, syphoned and stolen from those who need it most. So, my fellow South Africans, we’ve been great at making jokes at our own expense, but now we’re all joked out—and it seems the joke’s on us. I guess we can all be thankful we didn’t have Jacob Zuma or Donald J. Trump behind the wheel during this time in South Africa. That would’ve been too much to contemplate. Here’s to us sharing a zol and a whisky at the end of all this! ■ *At the time of print, the ban on ciggies and booze was thankfully lifted.
B OSCHENDAL A luscious blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot , Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Blended Distinction.
A premier business lifestyle magazine shaping the next era of business, innovation, design, disruption, living trends and productivity
Published on Sep 10, 2020
A premier business lifestyle magazine shaping the next era of business, innovation, design, disruption, living trends and productivity