Local problems need local solutions. These mobile apps are all free on both Android & iOS… and they’re as South African as chakalaka and pap.
South Africa’s tech innovators have produced hundreds of local apps to make the lives of South Africans easier and better.
Take Gradesmatch, for example. This comprehensive career guidance app was founded by three South Africans (Unathi September, Rudzani Mulaudzi and Lebo Diale) and was awarded a R3.5-million grant from Google to assist learners with planning and applying for tertiary education and their career.
Then there’s the Khwela app – a bridge between commuters and taxi drivers – and Mowash, developed by a Midrand resident to help customers book a car wash at their convenience, anywhere, any time.
Here are five of the best home-grown apps, solving problems from load shedding and lockdown shopping to international money transfers.
USE IT TO: book a domestic worker or gardener for on-demand or ongoing work.
Hire experienced and fully vetted home service providers (‘SweepStars’), with costs based on your home size and the work you need done. Payments are safe and cashless, and you only pay for actual time spent cleaning. The platform now has a dedicated feature for Airbnb hosts who can book a specialised clean so that their guests can be assured of the highest international hospitality best practice standards.
YOU’LL LOVE IT: for being an empowerment tool. The app has provided work for more than 20 000 domestic workers so far, with those Sweepstars earn up to 80% of the booking fee (plus tips).
RATING: 4.5 on Google Play / 4.7 on App Store
USE IT TO: get load shedding updates for your area.
More than just a silly name (it used to be called EskomSePush), this popular app provides updates and forecasts of Eskom’s load shedding activities in 50 000 areas across South Africa. After more than 1 million installs on Android alone, it was recently updated to include COVID-19 updates and a community platform.
YOU’LL LOVE IT: because it’s free. There’s a small ad (which pays for hosting fees), but apart from that, _SePush was developed as a public service.
RATING: 4.0 on Google Play / 4.2 on App Store
3. Checkers Sixty60
USE IT TO: have groceries delivered to your door.
Rapidly expanding to meet demand during lockdown level 5, Checkers’ ecommerce solution offered one-hour turnaround between orders and deliveries at a time when rival retailers had two-week waiting times. As lockdown eased, Sixty60 improved its catalogue (now up to 7 000 items) and its reliability.
YOU’LL LOVE IT: because it’ll be quicker than your usual Saturday morning shop.
RATING: 3.6 on Google Play / 3.0 on App Store
USE IT TO: buy, store and manage local and foreign currencies on the go.
Shyft has you covered whether you’re travelling abroad, shopping at home, investing offshore or just dabbling in foreign exchange. The forex virtual card lets you make international payments in foreign currency, while the Shyft Global Wallet allows you to buy and hold foreign currencies at excellent rates. Winner of a bronze medal at the Efma and Accenture Innovation Awards before launching, as well as the MTN Business App of the Year.
YOU’LL LOVE IT: if you’re a global citizen, love online shopping, or are planning a post-lockdown trip.
RATING: 3.6 on Google Play / 3.8 on App Store
USE IT TO: stock up on drinks, without the queues.
Bottles made its name as an on-demand alcohol delivery app. During the dry months of lockdown, it smartly pivoted to groceries, partnering with Pick n Pay to expand to convenient grocery ecommerce.
YOU’LL LOVE IT: because while the groceries are a nice bonus, it’s the easiest way to shop for liquor.
RATING: 3.6 on Google Play / 4.8 on App Store