Jay Caboz – Zimeo Finalist in two Catergories

I am glad to announce that I am a finalist in two categories at the ZIMEO “Excellence in Media” Awards Finalists List. Thanks once again to Forbes Africa for sending me all over the continent to write the stories I want.

Nairobi, 28th October 2015Finalists in the first edition of the Zimeo “excellence in Media” Awards have been announced today following a rigorous judging process led by independent pan-African panels of judges.

This is the first edition of the awards, which were launched by the African Media Initiative (AMI) in June 2015, to recognize excellence in journalism by rewarding stories that demonstrate high standards of professionalism and speak to the continent’s development issues. The awards received a total of 557 entries from 41 countries across the continent, from Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone Africa.

ZIMEO “Excellence in Media” Awards Finalists List

TECHNOLOGY

Jean Pierre Afadhali, The East African, Rwanda

“Rwanda ups measures for Internet to curb the abuse of Children Online”

Jay Caboz, Forbes International, South Africa

“A Rat Race Against Death”

Rats_-5

 

Wacera Ngunjiri, Africa 24 Media, Kenya

“Cape town Gunshot detection system”

Adeline Tchouakak,  Le Messager, Cameroon

“Les réseaux sociaux pour remplacer les médias classiques ?”

THE MARITIME ECONOMY

Jay Caboz, Forbes Africa Magazine, South Africa

The Dead Port That Rose Again

IMG_1007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanjohi Kabukuru, New African Magazine, Kenya

“President Michel: Oceans Fundamental to Africa’s Existence” & “A Parable Of Success

George Sunguh, Our Ports Magazine, Kenya

“PMAESA Ports Increase Capacity Ahead of Demand”

 

Portrait – Ricky Ellis, Swimmer

Portrait – Ricky Ellis, Swimmer

Medals Galore Amid AK-47s On The Floor

Photographer: @JayCaboz for @ForbesAfricaMagazine

Despite seeing assault rifles stranded in the stands, the Africa Games in Brazzaville left swimmer Ricky Ellis impressed.

If you haven’t heard about it, you’ve already missed it. The 2015 Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo, came and went without much ado. But, if you were South African swimmer Ricky Ellis, coming back with one gold and three silver medals from the small francophone country, it was a time of his life, in the pool and out.

“Obviously, Africa [swimming] is not considered great. But, the competition wasn’t as easy as we thought. We knew the Egyptians were going to come at us.,” says Ellis.

Buy this months magazine to read more.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Virgin Active, Victory Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, November 2015 edition


IMG_8312IMG_8120

Powerful #FeesMustFall images from South Africa

Location: Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa

On assignment for Forbes Africa Magazine  to cover the #FeesMustFall campaign

We went expecting drama, and we got it. On the back of the growing #FeesMustFall campaign, thousands of University students protested on the banks of the Union Buildings in an effort to reduce fee increases which were set to rise as much as 10%.

As the bangs of of stun grenades met the cheers of students taunting police, Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa, met with University officials and student leaders to negotiate terms. It was a case of too little too late as an isolated group of 50 students ran riot, fueled by frustration, setting toilets, cars and tyres alight. The group tore down the fence blockading the national landmark and pelted police with wrenches, rocks and pretty much anything they could find.

By the time tear gas canisters were launched into the air, the president was to announce that an settlement of a 0% fee increase for 2016 was reached. The crowd was yet to be informed.

The scene was bizarre. Among all this violence, the atmosphere beyond was light hearted and  relaxed.  I caught a number of students, standing next to the inferno, with people launching projectiles over the fence,  posing for selfies.

It was unfortunate that the thousands of other students, who were for the most part peacefully attending the protest, were caught in the peppery gas. In my view, the crowd was dispersed in the nick of time: I had seen three students preparing petrol bombs from an the abandoned generator left behind by the TV. Things could have gotten far worse.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-11

“This was the moment the police line broke and all hell broke loose” says Photojournalist @jaycaboz on his photo taken today at the #UnionBuildings #FeesMustFall protests. This on the back of President Jacob Zuma agreeing to a 0% fee increase for 2016.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-2

A small group of students led the violence outside the Union Buildings. The tension grew as the crowd got bolder, beginning with burning tyres and throwing projectiles.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-3

Students then grabbed toilets and set those alight.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-4

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-5

Among the bizarre, were students posing for selfies while behind them more fuel was fed to the inferno.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-6

More posing for the camera, while the smoke engulfs the hill.

 

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-8

Illustrating my point. Here are students standing with a placard…

 

 

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-9

…next to them are other students throwing rocks at the police.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-10

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-12

This was the moment the police line broke and all hell broke loose. After a wave of rocks, wrenches and bottles were thrown at them the police were forced back. Seconds later, the razor wire barrier came.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-13

After the students gained their foothold they began to destroy the police vehicles, ultimately leading to the tear gas.

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-14

#FeesMustFall_Jay Caboz_Union Buildings-15

Students flee from the tear gas.

 




 

 

Anti-Corruption March — Photos

Location: Union Buildings, Pretoria, South Africa

The Unite Against Corruption march came and went on a hot Pretoria Wednesday. Among 2,000 people were various political leaders, priests and leaders of NGOs prepared to sweat it out in front of the Union Buildings.

According to their website corruption has cost South Africa R700 billion in the last 20 years.

The auditor general has reported in excess of R2,6 billion unauthorized expenditure and a further R62,7 billion in irregular expenditure for the period 2013-14.

The Special Investigating Unit estimated that as much as 20-25% of state procurement expenditure, amounting to around R30 billion a year, is wasted through over payment and corruption.

Only 23 people were convicted of corruption or offences related to corruption where the benefit case is more than R5 million.

 

IMG_0031 IMG_9297 IMG_9392 IMG_9476 IMG_9530 IMG_9594 IMG_9634 IMG_9641 IMG_9761 IMG_9796 IMG_9799 IMG_9815 IMG_9828 IMG_9831 IMG_9968

 

IMG_9828 IMG_9831

Cover Shoot – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union

FWA 2015 Aug-Sep OFC

Portrait – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union by Jay Caboz.

Portrait – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – The Radisson, Sandton, South Africa

It isn’t a day like any other when you get to meet the most powerful woman in Africa.

I need to say off the bat that a photoshoot with such a prestigious leader doesn’t happen by chance. The Forbes Africa Woman team try to the best of their ability to plan for shoots and come up with concept that can both emulate the subject matter as well as make them look great.

Politicians, I suppose like most people who are famous, I don’t know why this is, have little time to spare when it comes to photographs. I have lost count the number of times we have dealt with figures in the public eye and they assume we can work magic in five minutes or less.  But we try our best to get what we can.

To reveal a little of what goes on behind the scenes: I had been on standby,  for this shot,  for several months. Literally we were told that this photoshoot could happen at any moment and that we were to drop everything we were doing and get it done. The only other time I have been on standby like this was when Nelson Mandela died. This was the level of importance we placed into this shoot.

Even still, it came as a surprise when at 6pm our editor Methil Renuka, calls us on from her holiday in Kerala, India, to tell us that the photoshoot would happen the next morning. Such is the dedication and drive of this team that we are always on our phones.

Over a scratchy public telephone line, from who knows where in the jungle, Renuka says: “It’s happening Jay, tomorrow. The shoot’s tomorrow.I can’t hear you but she’s coming tomorrow. Can you hear me????? Jay? …
” then line drop — received in a furniture store parking lot as we were closing up shop with the inside fashion shoot and squeezing lights back into the boot of Kris with a K, our art director’s, Renault Megan.

So the Forbes Africa Team had less than 24 hours.  We were to be given 45 minutes. Then the emails and phone calls began.

If you are familiar with the media business, it can take weeks to organize the personnel needed to organize a shoot. It is a near on impossible to organize lights, a stylist, make up artist, venue, snacks, photographer and an assistant in 24 hours. But we did it.

Luckily with such a big name many people are willing to drop what they are doing to collaborate. The Radisson, in Sandton, graciously lent us their penthouse suite for the day to set up lights and plan the shoot.

We were able to get into the venue, set up lights and be ready in time for her excellency. Time is the key word word here.

It took two hours to set up the lights, move the furniture and plan, shot by shot, pose by pose, how we were going to do this to maximize our limited time Dlamini-Zuma.

But no photoshoot goes according to plan. Ever.WP_20150703_001

Remember when I said that we had 45 minutes: Well it took the make up artist 45 minutes. Thus when Dlamini-Zuma came into the room, she should have already have left.

Dlamini-Zuma is wonderful lady, very polite and friendly to talk with. But, it is amazing that someone who is able to stand up in front of millions of people and make a speech can be shy in front of the camera. Our prep work had prepared us for this fact – she’s not a professional model.  That’s part of our job at Forbes Africa, getting the subject to come out of their shell and let their true self shine through.

We introduced ourselves, had a bit of a chit chat to release the tension in the room and got to work. I aim to get the subject to forget about all the people in the room and the bright lights. If you, as the photographer, act professionally, are composed, and act as if  you know what you are doing that confidence will shine through and you can get your subject to relax.

The time flew. We had managed to squeeze a half hour with several poses and interior magazine shots. Dlamini-Zuma shook our hands, said thanks for the photoshoot and ambled out the door.

Time to shoot: 30 minutes

Time to prepare for 30 minute shoot: 2 hours set-up, less than 24 hours to organize a team of helpers, a 45 minute make over and a phone call from India to set it off.

Job done.

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, July 2015 edition

Photographer: Jay Caboz on Instagram


WP_20150703_026

 

IMG_9641 IMG_9660

IMG_9682

Cover Shoot – Analjit Singh, Healthcare for Forbes Africa Magazine

IMG_2057

Portrait – Analjit Singh, Healthcare

Max India’s Analjit Singh Builds Grand Estate In South Africa — FORBES ONLINE

Words by our very own Editor of Forbes Woman Africa MagazineRenuka Methil

We step out of Analjit Singh’s blue Lexus into a picture postcard. Such is the scenic beauty greeting us. Singh is dressed in blue–shirt, turban and Nehru jacket–and poses with the panoramic mountains, also blue, in the background. We are standing under a benevolent April sun in Leeu Estates, Singh’s farm in Franschhoek, a picturesque wine town in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Singh points to a large white cross perched like a beacon on the slopes of the Dassenberg Mountain. “Everything below that cross is mine,” he says.

FA 2015 Jul OFCWe are on 68 hectares of farmland featuring vineyards, pomegranate and plum fields, oaks, olive trees and herb gardens. Men are at work laying bricks, building and restoring Cape Dutch edifices, putting together the many elements of what will be a boutique winery and 25-room, five-star hotel set to open next year as part of the Leeu Collection. “Leeu is our name [in South Africa]. In Afrikaans it means lion, just as Singh in Sanskrit means lion,” says Singh. For the record, the number plate on his Lexus SW is, no surprise, LEEU 1.

Singh says that the manor house under construction will also include a library containing both Gandhi and Mandela memorabilia. The manor house overlooks a manicured garden with art occupying center stage–life-size bronze sculptures by South African artist Deborah Bell handpicked by Singh. “I know all the people in the art world in Cape Town,” he says. “We have been acquiring art and sculptures, all of which will be displayed at our estate.”

Leeu Estates is a composite of three adjoining farms–Dieu Donné, Klein Dassenberg and Von Ortloff–that Singh bought in a year. The total investment in the development is $35 million.

The estate will include a gym and spa and a winery producing the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, overseen by husband-wife winemaking duo Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Winners of the 2014 Platter’s Winery of the Year Award, the couple will develop a Leeu range of premium wines for release at the end of 2016.

Follow the link to read more: Max India’s Analjit Singh Builds Grand Estate In South Africa — FORBES ONLINE

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa

So there we were, in the wine valley of Franschhoek, and we get to meet Analjit Singh. It might not look it from the photos, but I promise you that it was raining for basically the entire time we had with him. The sun came out for about an hour, and in that time, we had to drive to his farmhouse (which is still being built), set up and then shoot like mad.

No time, for expensive lighting. Nada. So I whipped out my trusty flash on wifi remote and we got going.

I remember telling the editor of Forbes Woman Africa, on our way back:

“This story is going to be cover material. I bet you its going to be a cover.” — Well I was right.

Originally we were only going to shoot for an interior story, so the fact that the weather came out to play for a bit was no real issue. BUT if there is one lesson you can learn from being a journalist is never underestimate the importance of a story. The same should be applied if you are a photographer along for the ride.

Everything came together for a few minutes just enough time to get the shots I wanted. What a miserable day it would have been if we couldn’t an outdoor portrait to drive the point home, who wants to do an indoor photoshoot when you are here in one of the most beautiful areas of South Africa.

So what did I learn from this shoot? — Shoot as if every photo you are taking is going to be seen on the cover of a magazine. No matter who is behind the lens, the fact that you are speaking with a Billionaire does lend itself to that but you just never know.

As far as my interaction with Mr Singh went? The saying “he is a true scholar and a gentleman” is meant for him.

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, July 2015 edition

IMG_2049

Portrait – Colin Nathan, Boxing Coach

Portrait -Colin Nathan, Boxing Coach

Article by Forbes Africa Journalist Thobile Hans

Colin Nathan is one of the few people who can say they are living the dream. As a successful boxing trainer, he wakes up every morning and looks forward to going to work.

He shares his beautiful house in Norwood, south of Johannesburg, with his wife Lara, his eight-year-old son Daniel and a new addition to the family, Jamie, who is only two months old. After settling in at his home, we get straight to where it all began for the man some regard as presently the most successful trainer in the country.

“I was only seven years old when I started nagging my father to take me with him to the boxing gym,” he says.

Nathan brightens up and become passionate when he talks about his formative years in boxing while growing up in Cape Town. His father, Stan, was a cutman and worked with boxers like the Whiteboy brothers Chris and Derrick, Sydney Hoho and Bashew Sibaca.

At the Sea Point Boxing Club, the young Nathan fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the boxing gym. His favorite activity was using boxers’ stomachs as punching bag, and the pugilists were happy to let him as he was too small and skinny to hurt them.

In 1988, while in the fourth grade at school, Nathan remembers yelling instructions at the sparring boxers, much to the amusement of everyone in the gym. Noticing his growing passion for the sport, Stan started taking his son to work with him in the corners of his boxers. This was illegal and when noticed in 1990, Stan was forced to register him as a bucket boy. This makes Nathan the youngest bucket man in South African history Nathan’s involvement in boxing deepened when he moved to Johannesburg in 1998 to double up as a television presenter on SABC.

This led to him becoming the youngest boxing commentator in the country at 20 years of age. Another milestone was in 2000 when Nathan, at the age of 22, became the youngest South African to own a boxing gym – the Hot Box Gym in Glenhazel, a north-eastern suburb of Johannesburg. After making a name for himself on television, boxers started approaching Nathan to be their manager. The first professional boxer in his stable was bantamweight, Andries Dick, who won his first five fights under Nathan. His second was Springkaan Khongoane who is still working with Nathan to this day. By this time, Nathan knew he wanted to become a fulltime trainer.

Being relatively young, it was tough convincing the boxing fraternity that he was the real deal. Boxing authorities used to mistake him for a boxer during weigh-ins and he found it difficult to convince promoters to sign his fighters. Around two years later, Khongoane became his first champion when he won the provincial super bantam weight title. With his growing success, former national champions like Tshepo Lefele, Mpush Makambi and Malcolm Klassen started joining his ranks and it became more and more difficult for Nathan to keep his head above the turbulent waters.

He decided to sign up with KO promotions and later with Branco Sports Productions, run by Branco Milenkovic. In 2005, he approached the biggest promoter in the country, Rodney Berman, who told Nathan he didn’t have any boxers he wanted to promote. Berman, however, had a change of heart the following year and signed up the young trainer in the Golden Gloves Promotions family. The rest is history.

“The last eight years have been nothing short of amazing,” says Nathan.

He has great respect for Berman, whom he says is one of his idols. Nathan rubbishes claims that the only reason Berman gave him a chance was because they are both Jewish. At one stage, people even said he was Berman’s nephew, especially when the promoter walked him down the aisle at his wedding. Berman’s faith in Nathan has paid off.

He has since produced world champions like Hekkie Budler, the IBO and WBA strawweight champion and the Ring Magazine’s No.1 ranked boxer in his division, and Zolani Marali, the former WBF junior-welterweight champion. He is also training the highly-rated Ryno Liebenberg who is undefeated in 16 fights. To take his training to the next level, Nathan spent two weeks with Freddie Roach, considered by many to be the world’s greatest trainer, in his Wild Card gym in Los Angeles. So, what did Nathan learn from Manny Pacquiao’s famous trainer?

“Commitment and responsibility,” says Nathan.

He has also met and taken advice from other renowned trainers like Angelo Dundee, who worked with Muhammad Ali, and Teddy Atlas, who worked with Mike Tyson. But does he consider himself the best trainer in South Africa? “In my eyes, yes, I think I am,” he says.

The latest success is Budler. The trainer considers Budler’s win over the dangerous Nkosinathi Joyi as his best achievement.

“Few gave light-hitting Hekkie a chance against the hard-hitting Joyi. But people didn’t know that I briefly worked with Joyi in my gym and I knew his weak points,” he says.

His biggest disappointment was when Budler lost his IBO light flyweight title, his only professional loss, by a split decision to Gideon Buthelezi. Colin Nathan says he was the first in the country to open his gym to commercial clients. He boasts training celebrities like musician Danny K, sport presenter Carol Tshabalala and President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane. Although he now is well known in the country, Nathan has his wife and kids to ground him whenever he gets big-headed. To prove the point, he asks his wife who the best boxing trainer in the country is. With a mischievous smile on her face, Lara says “Nick Durandt?”

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Hot Box Gym  – Glenhazel, Johannesburg South Africa

Nathan’s shoot proved to be quite a challenge. The gym was quite “busy”, not unusual for a boxing gym, with loads of equipment and very low lighting. To eliminate this we went with a shallow depth of field shot and I used two portable flashes at a 45 degree angle to pop him out. It’s kind of standard lighting set up that I am comfortable with in low light situations.

He had these really awesome training gloves, the ones used by coaches for sparring, with his name on them that perfectly summed up who he is and what he does. We went for a strong body position and asked him to flex his muscles a bit.

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, December-January 2014 edition

DSC_8709

Portrait – Vernon Head, Bird Watcher and Architect

Portrait – Vernon Head, Bird Watcher and Architect

Guns, Bats And Biting Insects In The Steamy Darkness

Article by Jay Caboz

It was 6,900 kilometers from home in Cape Town in sweltering, overwhelming, heat of the inky black jungle. Architect and bird watcher, Vernon Head, stood with a spotlight in hand, on a remote jungle mountainside in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley looking for something few on earth had seen before.
“It’s a strange place at night… You know that not many people have been there, especially at night. Everything that comes into the spotlight, you are never sure it is something new,” he says.
It wasn’t easy in the darkness; the fluorescent light attracted a host of flying creatures. Bats flew in the air, insects stuck in Head’s teeth and stinging flying ants crawled up his legs. This was the hunt for one of Africa’s most elusive animals. Head and his team, carrying nets, looked over their shoulders as they risked gun-wielding villagers, who resented their intrusion. They scoured every bush. This was the hunt for the world’s rarest bird, the Nechisar Nightjar.
The hunt began with a phone call from England. Over the crackling telephone line, Head, who was in Cape Town, heard the story about a roadside relic in a paper bag; a muddy bird’s wing that was found by Cambridge based scientists on safari in 1990.
“On that expedition, three hundred and fifteen species of birds were seen; sixty one species of mammal and sixty nine species of butterfly y were identified; twenty species of dragonflies and damsel flies; seventeen reptile species were recorded; three frog species were fi led; plants were listed. And the wing of a road-killed bird was packed into a brown paper bag,” says Head.
The wing sent the scientific world aflutter.
“Normally to describe a bird species you need the actual bird, which means you need to have seen it. In this case they just had a wing squashed in the mud next to this smugglers track on a plain of the African rift valley in southern Ethiop It became known as the only bird species ever described to science that no one had ever seen,” he says.
For 20 years, experts have tried in vain to catch a glimpse of the nightjar. The wing sat gathering dust in the drawers of the British Natural History Museum in Tring, England. Ian Sinclair, a bird watcher, was on the phone to Cape Town and wanted Head’s help.
“In the field guides that list the birds of Africa, when you go to the nightjar section and get to the part where is says Nechisar Nightjar, you just see a drawing of a wing. Then you look at the map next to the wing [and] there is a little ‘x’ with a question mark. It’s quite exciting; you want to see it… [Sinclair] said to me ‘why we don’t give this a go?’”
It was an $18,000-voyage of discovery that Head, Sinclair and two other bird enthusiasts wouldn’t pass up. Their first port of call was protection; bird watching is strangely fraught with danger.
“In that part of southern Ethiopia, there are still a number of tribes that are remote and their cultures are remote communities detached from the modern world. They still traditionally fight over grazing land. These fights over grazing land, where in the past they used traditional weapons, they are now using AK-47s. It’s never a good idea if you are a bird watcher and you are driving through a valley and on either side are a bunch of people with AK-47s that have a disagreement with each other. You have to have some security. Preferably people from one of the tribes who understand the nuances,” says Head.
Many bird watchers have laid down their lives spotting birds. A tiger killed David Hunt in the Jim Corbett National Park in India; Phoebe Snetsinger survived being raped in New Guinea before dying in a road accident in Madagascar; and Ted Parker died in an air crash on route to Ecuador.
“[Bird watching] is a big ecotourism industry. It’s massive. Bird watching in America makes more money than golf; it’s a $60-billion business. There still are these weird things out there. Nature is quite resilient in our modern day. There are secrets out there in nature waiting to be unraveled,” says Head.
“When I was six or seven, on my grandfather’s farm, I learned to go bird watching on the wild open plains of Northcliff, before it became a city. It’s strange when you drive through it today and you used to run around here and see Burchell’s coucal and aardvark. There was even rumored to be a Leopard in the Roodepoort hills. That’s only some 40 years ago,” says Head.
A world away, in the heat under the stars in southern Ethiopia, Head’s spotlight falls on a very large thorny bush and catches a pair of a golden copper-red reflection: eyes.
“We knew what to look for. We knew it was going to be a nightjar. I mean we’d seen the wing. The bird we saw, funnily enough, was a male, but the wing itself was from a female. We were able to deduce this because of the white in the wing, it was slightly creamier. Male nightjars generally have bigger white patches. And it had this huge white patch in its wing. It made it unlike it was any other nightjar in Africa. There was no doubt.”
After all the 6,500 kilometers, mean insects and the heat, the men couldn’t catch it. The nightjar flew away into the night. Head and his fellow bird watchers continued to record the sighting, a precious notch in the bird watching community. Just another day in the strange and dangerous world of bird watching.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, February 2015 edition

IMG_1489

Portrait – Simmi Areff, Comedian

Portrait – Simmi Areff, Comedian

With just R30 in his pocket and a dream of being in the spotlight Simmi Areff moved to Johannesburg to become a comedian. A man never far from a hookah pipe or a trending tweet Areff looks for any excuse to get up on stage to crack jokes for his supper.

It’s a typical Friday afternoon for comedian Simmi Areff. He sits across the table in the Joburg Theatre Canteen, South Africa, with a hookah pipe in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. Every ten minutes his phone vibrates as his manager valiantly tries to track him down. Areff is surprisingly calm for someone who will in two hours’ time go on stage.  It even more surprising when he says hasn’t got a clue about what he will say on stage.

“After tonight I’ll be able to tell you if I was ready or not, but the only thing I can do wrong is disappoint them. I have about 30 minutes of the show, but it’s that last 15 minutes. I don’t know if I’m going to talk to people or what. Lots of people say that talking to people is not part of a one man show, but it’s what I’m good at. It’s what I’m known for, so why not. So I’m going to talk to people, I don’t know who yet but I’m going to do it,” he says through a cloud of mint flavoured smoke.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Joburg Theatre, Johannesburg South Africa

Areff’s career has steadily taken shape. This photo was taken just before his first one man show at the Joburg Theatre. “HaHa-Laal” caused quite a stir in the Mulim community over the use of the logo. Regardless he has proven time and again that he is an up-and-coming in the South African comedy scene worth keeping an eye out for.

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine

Simmi Areff comedian for Forbes Africa/Life Magazine before his first one mand show Its not Hahalaal

Simmi Areff comedian for Forbes Africa/Life Magazine before his first one man show Its not Hahalaal 2014

20131122-IMG_9647

 

Portrait – Edward Moshole, The Unlikely Millionaire

Portrait – Edward Moshole, The Unlikely Millionaire

Edward Moshole was destined for a life as a cleaner in a factory; until inspiration came on a breath of fresh cherry-scented air in a storage room surrounded by detergents. Last year the former cleaner sold 70,000 bottles of detergent a month to the largest retail shopping chains in South Africa, worth about R12 million ($1 million) a year.

“A broomstick is what started my business. It was the only thing that I owned… Getting a job as a cleaner at Enterprise changed my life; them giving me the boots and overalls and saying ‘here clean’. I could feel in my heart I wanted to be something more,” he says.

With humble beginnings in the small township of Gapane, a place few have heard of in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Moshole’s story is uncommon. He grew up without parents from the age of 16 and failed eighth grade five years in a row. Moshole says when he was young he never dreamed he could become a millionaire.

His life changed when he moved to Cape Town to live with his brother. He says the move woke him up. Moshole finished his schooling and became a cleaner in a factory run by food chain Enterprise. In this factory, in a two-square-meter storage room that smelled of cherries; among piles of detergent, bleach, cleaners and soaps, Moshole had an idea.

“Getting into that store room, I could see that the quality doesn’t measure the performance of the cleaners. I could improve things. I could see myself becoming a detergent manufacturing champion,” he says.

It began with $6 and a broom stick says Moshole. The then cleaner went directly to a manufacturer and bought a five-liter bleach bottle. His first sales pitch was short and simple.

“I went to an ordinary person and said ‘look I’ve got detergent, I’ve got cleaner and they go for R15 ($1.20) a litre’,” he says.

Moshole’s part-time business took off. He targeted his co-workers who finished work too late to make it to the shops. A few months later, Moshole began selling door-to-door. He moved to spaza shops and sold to neighbors.

Moshole soon grew tired of the life of a middleman salesman and decided to create his own brand. With the money he earned, he bought a pile of 25-litre spice drums from Enterprise for around $1 each. He spent the following weekends churning detergent with a homemade metal mixer in his backyard.

“At the end of the day my hands were blistered,” he recalls.

For three years, Moshole toiled over his blue spice drums. His brand, Chem-Fresh, garnered the interests of supermarket giant Pick n Pay, owned by Raymond Ackerman, who is ranked 38th on Forbes’ list of richest Africans. It was the big break that Moshole needed.

The deal took seven years to sign. Along the way, Moshole learnt some hard lessons about mass-market production. One of them was to change from an informal backyard business to a formal one. He named his company ‘ebinter’ and started selling his Chem-Fresh products through it. Moshole also learnt he needed to become an accountant as well as a salesman. But it was the competition in the detergent business that was hardest to handle.

“Retail must retain a formal market. It’s tough. You negotiate with a buyer who takes 300 calls a day from others who supply the same product as you. Then there you are competing with the multinationals and then you are competing with the companies who own no-name brands. Your product needs to be cheap and needs to be of a consistent high quality,” says Moshole.

These days, Moshole’s factory in Wynberg, an industrial sector a few kilometers outside of Sandton, is a far cry from his backyard. Thousands of plastic bottles are piled to the ceiling. A $90,000 mixer churns bath soaps and hand wash. Another mixer prepares bleach for the day. Moshole says it takes half an hour to produce 500 liters of Chem-Fresh bleach.

His clientele has now spread across supermarket chains Spar, Pick n Pay, Massmart and Dischem.

Despite landing these promising contracts the detergent maker remains humble. He keeps the broom that he started with as a reminder of where his dreams began, minus the brush which fell off a few years ago.

With $6 and a broomstick, Moshole began selling detergent to his colleagues, bottle by bottle. Now, he sells them in the thousands. What’s more, Moshole proudly claims he has never missed a delivery.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Chem-Fresh factory, Wynberg, Johannesburg South Africa

Moshole’s story is one of those rare finds that kind of writes itself. He is one of the most humble men you could ever meet and I wanted that to come through in the image. Moshole had an incredibly genuine smile so we went with it. The background, filled to the rafters with goods, made a convincing setting to speak of where Moshole began and is now.

Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine

IMG_7280

IMG_7246