Cape Town Start-Up Invents New Radical Way to Make Townships Safer

A Cape Town start-up has come up with a new and innovative way to make townships safe by building affordable smart alarm that sends notifications to communities on an app, reports Business Insider.

Jonga, in isiXhosa, means “to watch” and was conceived by Ntsako Mgiba in 2016 when – at the time a student at the University of Cape Town – was visiting his aunt in Empucukweni, a suburb near Emalahleni in Mpumalanga.

Now there are over 70 Jonga security systems in homes across Cape Town.

“On the first evening we visited her, our house was broken into. And we only realised the next day that our house was one of six broken into,” Mgiba says.

Mgiba says that this incident was a dire lesson on the vulnerability of such communities to crime, especially for those who struggle to afford high-tech security systems, electric fencing, burglar bars and the services of a 24-hour armed response unit.

“The thought remained with me that if there was only some way when the first robbery occurred, the rest of the neighbourhood had some way of being notified. I’d like to think that we were only so vulnerable because we were not connected with our neighbours,” says Mgiba.

The Jonga system manages a long-lasting battery life of 7 months with a single charge via micro-USB. The cable can also be used to link multiple users to the app.

Once triggered, the alarm sensor sends a notification to paired smartphones via the app. The sensor itself is wireless and can be repositioned throughout the home.


Once triggered, the alarm sensor sends a notification to paired smartphones via the app. The sensor itself is wireless and can be repositioned throughout the home.
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Multiple alarms can also be linked together on the app, meaning whole communities can keep an eye on each other’s homes.

Mgiba, who runs the company with business partner Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, says that the product is destined for homes in Khayelitsha, Cape Town and that they hope to see the device in 15-thousand homes across South Africa in due time.

“We believe that a connected community is a protected community. What we’re trying to do is to encourage the community to look after one another, watch out for one another. That is the core offering, connected communities are protected communities,” Mgiba concludes.

The device can be purchased for a once-off cost for $35.59, with an additional monthly subscription of $4.15 PM. The monthly cost is to cover running the app and sending out the notification.

Check out a video about the making of Jonga here.

Edited by Luis Monzon

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