All posts by Who's Who of Southern Africa

‘Please Call Me’ inventor, Kenneth Makate wins Vodacom court battle

After years of battling it out with Vodacom, ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Kenneth Nkosana Makate has won the case against the cellphone network service provider. In  early May 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Kenneth stating that Vodacom was bound by an agreement with Kenneth who has said that he had approached his former employer with the concept.


Read more about Great South African Innovations below:

All mobile phone owners know that should they find themselves without airtime to send a message or make a call, all they need to do is send a free ‘Please Call Me’ text message to any number. The receiver is notified that the sender wishes to speak to them. That simple!

There is however some dispute as to who exactly invented the system: either Vodacom former employee Kenneth Makate or former MTN employee Ari Kahn. Each has their own proof and the matter is still being investigated in court.

Another interesting telecoms development is also credited to a local. In 1947 a South African named John Karlin persuaded Bell Labs to create a unit, originally called the User Preference department and later Human Factors Engineering, to study the dynamics of using a telephone. It is from these studies that touch-tone dialling arose; effectively making John Karlin the inventor of touch-tone dialling and changing the way we use telephones forever.

Kenneth’s case not only proves that there is indeed no shortage of creative and aspiring minds in the local ICT and Telecommunications industry, but more importantly, it is a reminder that you should not throw in the towel when you feel you’ve been unfairly treated. If you’re considering suing your boss, make sure you’ve prepared yourself for the consequences, whether the outcome is with or against you.

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

So you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Sure, it’s great to be a leader and to make your own decisions. But do you have what it takes? There are many things for an aspiring entrepreneur to consider.

YE3BR41KSE (1)Creating a business takes a considerable financial investment, a lot of time and many, many hours of hard work. Your starting point is therefore to ask yourself if this is really something you can see yourself doing for the next years. As mentioned on, there is a big difference between wanting to be able to make a living doing something, and the actual chance it’s going to work out.

Follow the leader

Are you a leader or a follower? Are you comfortable directing a team of employees? It is very likely that you will be hiring staff at some point, even for a starting business. Keep in mind that leadership skills are a part of making it as an entrepreneur. Good leaders make good entrepreneurs.

Money matters

How do you manage your money? There are really only two options: either you make it through the initial stage and get to build on your investment, or you don’t, which will be the end of your business. An entrepreneur knows how to handle uncertainty, and knows finance through and through.

Do what you enjoy

Seek out your talents and let your interests decide where you will go with your business. It’s all about distinguishing yourself out there, and what better way to do so than by doing something that you love and know everything about?

Business time

Your business plan is your bible. A solid business plan takes into account and analyzes as many different situations as possible. This is where your keen insight and experience with corporate and finance come into play. Formulate your goals and most of all, how and when you are going to achieve them.

Know your customers

 Yes, the start-up of a new business is a hectic time. But the fact that your business is small scaled has its advantages. It allows you to get to know your customers, for example. In the corporate world, most customers are just some file on a computer. Work on a personal experience for your clients, they will be sure to appreciate it.

It’s all about creating a competitive advantage: something that makes you preferable over your many competitors.

Invest not only in your business, but in yourself

Keen entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for ways to improve themselves.  This means you should keep cultivating yourself, your talents, and your interests. In other words: go to conferences, take courses and read books on relevant topics.

The best advice to anyone that is an aspiring entrepreneur is arguably: ‘Know thyself.’ It takes certain skills to be an entrepreneur. Being honest to yourself about whether you possess these assets is the very first step on an exciting road to building up a business, or choosing a career path that better suits you.

 By Laura Macek, Journalism and Content Intern at Who’s Who

From Shaka to Braai Day: The story of our Heritage

On Heritage Day, we proudly celebrate the diversity of our South Africa. In this country of opportunities and welcoming, we celebrate that we are a product of an intricate interaction of cultures by honouring our various traditions and customs.

Heritage Day

Heritage Day was never planned as a public holiday. In fact, the 24th of September was originally known as Shaka Day – a day to commemorate King Shaka Zulu who used his spear to bring together people from various tribes and clans under one cultural blanket.

He was the driving force behind uniting the scattered Zulu clans into one solid nation. It is indeed quite symbolic that a day like Heritage Day, with its strong message of unity and acceptance, grew from such an event.

When the Public Holidays Bill was presented to the South African Parliament, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) which to this day represents a large community of Zulus, demanded that the 24th of September be included as well. A compromise was reached when this day was declared Heritage Day.

Nowadays, although still widely accepted as Heritage Day, 24 September has unofficially become known as National Braai Day. This after Jan Braai campaigned for the public holiday to be referred to as such. Indeed, incorporating this nationally favoured activity makes it that much more ‘South African’.

It’s a matter of personal preference how you are going to celebrate this Heritage Day. Whether it’s a quiet get-together with your family or attending a mass braai, Heritage Day celebrates its own heritage by uniting people and getting them together in under the beautiful South African sky.

By Laura Macek, Journalism and Content Intern at Who’s Who