Social entrepreneurs across Africa rally to the call to unite in support of pan African networking by joining the Africans for Africa Network to change the media narrative from one driven by western European influence to one that reflects an authentic African voice.
The Africans for Africa Network is a bold initiative and one that is long overdue. Heading the list of visionary Africans joining the Africans for Africa Network is Webjunkies.
Kevin Naidoo and Rajen Govender, the joint shareholders of 4sa Technologies, trading under a bouquet of brands (signs4sa.co.za, cars4sa.co.za, trucks4sa.co.za, bikes4sa.co.za and more) believe whole - heartedly in this initiative, “As entrepreneurs, we face numerous challenges daily, but we remain committed to shaping the social landscape where we can. Joining this initiative was a way of us ‘paying it forward’ “, they said.
Webjunkies, also a division of 4sa Technologies that caters for website development and online “real estate” management, was deployed to create an online presence for the Africans for Africa Network.
The company is passionately and competently driven by Naidoo and Govender, both confident businessmen infused with drive and ambition. Kevin is primarily responsible for growth initiatives while Rajen, a Chartered Accountant (SA), takes care of all governance and strategic matters. With Naidoo’s strong background in Sales and Govender’s solid financial experience, they make a formidable team.
Govender explained that the 4sa Technologies Group was formed to enable the on-line presence of motor related businesses seeking to extend their reach to a continuously growing, ever demanding and tech - savvy community. “We are a fully empowered company, principally generating on-line leads with added website development capability. We have recently extended our offering to include design, manufacture and installation of all types of signage. “, he said.
They both hail from Chatsworth, Durban and met up in Johannesburg in 2010 at a mentorship programme. An immediate friendship was forged between these two determined, like-minded men. After the programme they realised that they were eminently suited to working together and set about outlining an efficient business plan.
In 2011 they acquired an already established family concern and Signs4sa.co.za, came into being, offering a bouquet of signage services. This entity is currently the largest in the Group. They are supported and assisted by their experienced and capable staff.
From modest backgrounds – life was not easy – they both say that it was effort, determination and dedication that got them to where they are today.
Naidoo says he learned the “value of hard work” when he relocated to Johannesburg and in a short time worked through the ranks to become a Sales Director. The more voluble and bolder of the two, he talks passionately about “transferring skills” - they both feel very strongly about “paying it forward” and putting back into the community. They like nothing better than developing emerging entrepreneurs within their group.
With a very strong work ethic, “we pride ourselves on the quality of our workmanship”, their group companies stimulate engagement and productivity by drawing on the natural talents and skills of their team. Govender mentions that at an emotional level it is about cultivating positive emotions and encouraging individual initiatives.
With a reputation for excellence this Johannesburg-based group is driven by the belief that “any form of client engagement has to have the prominence and care it deserves”. Each business within the group rates amongst the highest accredited Black empowered businesses. In a short space of just under two years the combined staff complement currently stands at 42 and is set to increase. They recently opened a Signs4sa branch in Durban.
Their vision is to create self-sustaining businesses that contribute meaningfully to the greater South Africa and looking into the future, the world is their oyster: “we stand toe to toe with anyone in the business”.
As for the Africans for Africa initiative: “We hope to see it achieve its objectives of ground-breaking, lasting change and creating the platform dialogue it wishes. It’s about time that Africans take control of their destiny”, they said.
The aims of the Africans for Africa Network, the brainchild of Vanessa Perumal, founder of JT Communications Solutions and the JT Comms African Media Resource Centre of Excellence, are to engage in a series of dialogues, set up exchanges between artists on the continent, create new markets for Africa’s cultural content and products and take ownership of the space in which Africa’s voice is expressed through music and culture in international arenas.
“We were delighted to have recently launched the website at the biggest world music festival (Womex 2013) in Cardiff, Wales. We are very grateful to have had Webjunkies, a key trade-exchange partner, design our website. We thank them for their generous support,” said Perumal.
Besides the key stakeholder and trade exchange, Webjunkies, Perumal also set up partnerships with South Africa’s Emthonjeni Arts and Mali’s renowned FestivalauDesert and various other African networks including IMEXSA, iStart2, SA Women Engineers, Howiviewafrica, Woldegiorgis Ghebrehiwot from Mekelle University, Tigray, Ethiopia, Johnny Muteba from Democratic Republic of Congo, Sam Mokorosi’s Africa The Good News, Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust - Nozincwadi (Dr Gcina Mhlope) and Harem Clothing.
The first of the Africans for Africa Network’s pan African exchanges will be hosted by the Emthonjeni Arts with a two-week long residency with artists from the Malian Festival au Desert, in December 2013. This first-ever partnership between the two countries emerged out of Africans For Africa Network’s mission to change the prevailing narrative of Africa from one driven by Western media, to one that reflects the inherent strengths of the continent across various Afro-centric platforms.