Bakkiefy: How new mo­bile app rev­o­lu­tionises move­ment of prop­erty

African Times - - News - MTHULISI SIBANDA

AR­GUABLY a first in South Africa and most prob­a­bly the con­ti­nent, a new mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion has been cre­ated mak­ing bakkie hir­ing services eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple who need to move their prop­erty.

Bakkiefy, as the in­ven­tion com­pat­i­ble with iOS and An­droid , is a brain­child of a Zim­bab­wean young­ster, made pos­si­ble with col­lab­o­ra­tions

with fel­low young­sters in South Africa. Much like rideshar­ing services such as the Uber, Bakkiefy is a web-based

tool and mo­bile phone app that pro­vides a mech­a­nism to match up those

seek­ing help mov­ing items with driv­ers that have bakkies.

Bakkie is a South African term for a pickup or is a light-duty truck hav­ing an en­closed cab. It is pop­u­lar among in­di­vid­u­als, mostly res­i­dents mov­ing their house ware be­tween apart­ments, or com­pa­nies mov­ing their prop­er­ties. In­no­va­tor, Dar­ling­ton Sibanda (28), is the brains be­hind the Bakkiefy

phe­nom­e­non. “I wanted to ferry a fridge from a flat I used to live at to my friend’s flat in Rand­burg,” Sibanda said in an in­ter­view with CAJ News Africa. “We walked through the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict search­ing for a bakkie to hire. To our dis­may, we couldn’t get any. We post­poned fer­ry­ing it for

some other time. Then, alone, it hit me that in this mod­ern tech times, ‘why can’t there be a link be­tween a driver and some­one in need of a bakkie’.”

The rest, as they say, is his­tory. What makes the in­ven­tion more fas­ci­nat­ing is that Sibanda stud­ied Hu­man­i­tar­ian Work, af­ter en­rolling at the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe (UZ) School of So­cial Work.

His pri­mary and high school­ing also makes for in­ter­est­ing read­ing, hav­ing stud­ied at mod­est and ru­ral schools in poverty-stricken Mata­bele­land North prov­ince south of Zim­babwe.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about lev­er­ag­ing on tech­nol­ogy for so­cial im­pact and in­clu­sion, cre­at­ing so­cial and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for all,” Sibanda said.

Bakkiefy came to fruition af­ter Sibanda part­nered with a for­mer sec­ondary class­mate, Bheki Ndlovu, an ctu­ar­ial sci­en­tist who stud­ied Com­puter

Pro­gram­ming in South Africa. Ndlovu would later join Sibanda and his South African busi­ness part­ner, Tshepo Mohlala.

“I shared the idea, then he showed me some of the apps he has de­vel­oped. That’s how it all started,” Sibanda said.

The in­no­va­tors are prepar­ing to launch the app com­mer­cially. It will ini­tially serve the serve the ma­jor cities of Cape Town, Dur­ban, Johannesburg and the cap­i­tal Pre­to­ria,.

There are am­bi­tions plans to ex­pand the ser­vice to cities in Botswana,

Kenya, Mozam­bique, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe and the rest of the con­ti­nent, with time. Bakkiefy works at the click of a but­ton. The mo­ment a cus­tomer or­ders a bakkie, it con­nects to the driver who is near­est to them.

The Bakkiefy driver will help them with load­ing and un­load­ing. Driv­ers at Bakkiefy App will take re­spon­si­bil­ity for cus­tomers’ items. Bakkiefy driv­ers must qual­ify through strin­gent tests for driv­ing and nec­es­sary cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. They are le­gally autho­rised to work in the city of op­er­a­tion and need to have a valid driver’s li­cense.

“They must un­dergo a back­ground check and pass an al­co­hol and drug

screen­ing. Their auto in­sur­ance must be valid while their ve­hi­cles must

com­ply with all in­dus­try stan­dards as traf­fic reg­u­la­tions govern­ing re­spec­tive cities.

Bakkiefy falls un­der the Skhi­bela In­vest­ment Group (SIG), which Mohlala founded in 2010. Mohlala is Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of SIG, which has in­ter­ests in film pro­duc­tion, mar­ket­ing, min­ing and tech­nol­ogy. At SIG, Sibanda is Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer. Ndlovu is the Busi­ness Strate­gist.

“Their skills and ex­per­tise in busi­ness are an ad­van­tage. Their bright ideas and cre­ative cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, the abil­i­ties to dream bore fruits to the growth of their busi­ness em­pire,” Sibanda said of his col­leagues.

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