We often pride ourselves on our ‘South African-isms’, but some have taken it further and developed apps that cater to the specific needs that only South Africans can truly appreciate. This month, we celebrate Heritage Day – usually with a braai. But it’s also a time to shine the light on local wins. Here are some of the most innovative – and useful – apps developed by South Africans.
Unless noted, all the apps are available for Android and iOS.
According to a recent PayPal study, most South Africans would rather leave their wallets at home than their phones. Thanks to apps like SnapScan, more and more South Africans are making payments with their phones. Since it was launched five years ago, the app has grown to having around 45 000 merchants signed up. You can do everything from paying for parking to buying a cup of coffee or settling your laundry bill with your phone. It links to either your credit or debit card and no additional bank charges are added to your transaction.
Factory Shops SA
Looking for a bargain? The Factory Shops SA app, which has more than 100 000 downloads, picks up your location and sends you the details of the factory outlets selling the items you are interested in located near you. It will then navigate you to the shop you want to visit or you can request an Uber through the app. You can also choose to receive push notifications about specials.
A hit with investors (including those in Silicon Valley) and users alike, SweepSouth has often been described as the Uber of professional cleaning services. It matches users to domestic workers in your area and allows you to customise your service so that you only pay for the cleaning you require. Like Uber, payment is cashless. It is currently available in most suburbs of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.
Child Friendly SA
Developed by parents for parents, this app lists more than 10 000 South African businesses that offer products and services related to children. There are the obvious activities - party venues and planners, events, hotels and restaurants - but it also contains useful information on extra lessons, emergency numbers, 24-hour pharmacies and so on. In-app features include calling, emailing, sharing, routing and Uber requests. Child Friendly SA covers the needs of kids from birth until they leave high school.
If you love the idea of earning cash back on your grocery shopping but can’t bear the thought of carrying yet another loyalty card in your wallet, you might want to give SNAPnSAVE a try. More than 100 000 South Africans are already using the app, and according to its developers, more than R5 million cash has been paid out. You choose the digital coupons on the items you will be buying, go shopping as normal and then take a ‘snap’ of your slip to redeem the coupons in cash.
This award-winning app could enhance your next game-viewing experience. It allows those visiting South Africa’s game reserves to report their sightings and share them so that others can go directly there to view them. The Latest sightings app is not only useful to tourists, it also contributes to research and wildlife conservation.
A World Bank report called SA ‘the most indebted country in the world’. So, we need every bit of help we can get when it comes to managing our finances. Enter 22seven. The app launched as an independent start-up in 2012 and was later bought by Old Mutual. 22seven links all your bank and retail accounts and transactions to give you a clear picture of where your money is being spent. You can also get a personalised budget, regular insights and investment advice. The app uses bank security measures to keep your information secure.
Awesome South Africa
With the aim of getting locals and visitors to make the most of their time in SA’s most popular destinations, Awesome South Africa connects hospitality vendors such as hotels, restaurants and shops to users. It helps you find things to do around the country with categories including Cool Eating Spots, Safari Tours, Fun Events, Best Night Clubs, Golf Courses, Best Places to Shop and more.
Should you ever be in a position where you need emergency assistance, Namola could be the most important app on your phone. It uses your GPS location to alert nearby responders. If you request help through the app, you will receive a call back immediately to confirm your details after which suitable help will be dispatched. You can also add up to five personal contacts who will be notified of your emergency too.
Whether you’re carless or listless, Zulzi makes it possible to have anything – be it groceries, liquor, medication or food – in your area delivered to you in under an hour. Delivery fees are relatively low and you can order from more than one store at a time.
The most recent app on the list (released in July this year), Moya Messenger is taking on Whatsapp, but with an ace up its sleeve. The new messaging app allows users to send unlimited text messages at no data cost, even if you have no airtime or data left. While all messages are data-free, attachments such as photos and videos require wifi or mobile data. Only available on Android.
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