Opinion & Analysis

Why Cell C is fighting for unregulated over-the-top services

This article was originally published on The Daily Vox.

Before last week’s parliamentary portfolio committee meetings on over-the-top (OTT) services regulation, Cell C released a statement by its CEO Jose dos Santos that said that “Vodacom and MTN have declared war on consumer interests” in a bid to maintain “their stranglehold on a vital artery feeding [South Africa]’s economic and social future”. But why is Cell C alone among the major networks on the side of unregulated OTTs? STUART LEWIS tries to figure it out.

Founded in 2001, seven years after its two biggest competitors, Cell C is still largely a new kid on the block. However, in its stand against the regulation of OTT services like Whatsapp, it has drawn a line in the sand, with Vodacom and MTN on one side and itself, OTTs and the South African consumer on the other. To understand why it makes perfect sense for Cell C to do this, you have to understand the industry that it is operating in.

The South African mobile market is divided into two kinds of operators: those that own infrastructure, and those that piggyback off of infrastructure built and owned by other companies. The four largest players in the country are, in order, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom – all of whom built and maintain their own real world network of cellphone towers and other connections.

Read the full article here.


Surviving on the margins and “disturbing the robots”

This article was originally published on The Daily Vox.

If you’ve ever been to Rosebank, chances are you’ve driven past TELMORE MASANGUDZA, PETER KAZOWA and the display of beaded artworks they’ve sold at the corner of Jan Smuts Ave and Bolton Road for the last ten years. Stuart Lewis spoke to the two Zimbabwean artists about the falling rand, rising inequality and surviving harassment by the Metro police.

Telmore Masangudza (38) and Peter Kazowa (39) met in school back in their native Zimbabwe and have been friends ever since. While still students, they learned to make sculptures out of wire and beads and, since arriving together in South Africa in 2005, have made a living doing just that.

“We came here and we saw that our brothers were again doing these wire things. So we started to make them as well. We used to make a good living but not these days, things are very bad,” complains Masangudza as he threads blue beads onto the bare frame of what will be a life-sized rabbit.

Read the full article here.


Is white guilt still relevant?


On changing Rhodes’s name: why we can’t win – and why we have to fight it

Originally published on The Daily Vox.

As the protests against the Cecil John Rhodes at UCT spread to Grahamstown, an online poll (still open for voting) currently shows that more 80% of those surveyed think Rhodes University should keep its name – despite its colonial legacy. STUART THEMBISILE LEWIS thinks changing the university’s name isn’t a battle that’s likely to be won – but argues it’s an important one to keep fighting. ip within the institution about the name of Cecil John Rhodes. The responses I get are always the same and, I would contest, indicative of the paralysingly slim chance of the name ever getting changed. Let me begin by dealing with these responses. (more…)

Twitter: A weapon of war?

Originally produced for The Oppidan Press.

Twitter was founded in March 2006 by American web developerJack Dorsey and seven years later and it has become one of the world’s most widely used forms of social media, boasting 500 million users, of which 200 million are considered active.

Twitter’s design enables the rapid sharing and consumption of information through text based messages called tweets that can contain up to 140 characters as well as images, video and links to other websites.

Owing to this unique, brief and hyper-fast feature, Twitter enables the broadcasting of information in real-time for consumption by anyone on the planet and so has been rapidly embraced by journalists and media organisations around the world as a method of reporting stories on the fly. (more…)