MEET

The winner of AYO
Scaling Africa
Series
MeMeZa
Shout

It was a violent and deadly attack in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg that inspired Thuli Mthethwa to establish MeMeZa Shout Crime Prevention, a community-focused security company.
“My younger sister was attacked by criminals in her house in Tembisa, her husband was fatally beaten, her 16-year-old almost raped. I had to do something. I started looking for an answer,” says Thuli Mthethwa. That was in 2013. Fast forward eight years, and the company she founded in response to a family tragedy recently took top honours for its alarm system at the inaugural AYO Scaling Africa Series, which aims to identify, support and reward (in the form of a R100000 cash prize) the country’s top technopreneurs.
The company is the first black-woman-owned company in South Africa to provide a patented public alarm system that combines a physical alarm, neighbours, community safety groups and the SA Police Services (SAPS) to collectively fight crime.
Speaking at the event, MeMeZa CEO Elmarie Pereira said winning the competition would “open the doors to possible investment that MeMeZa needs to ensure we can make South Africa a safer place, while building a sustainable, woman-led business”. Pereira joined Mthethwa in 2014, after the death of her sister due to gender-based violence.
Mthethwa says she started her company after realising there was a gap in the market, with poorer communities not having access to security technology and an integrated approach to crime response.
According to the two women, the technology used by MeMeZa is designed to quickly alert the SAPS, neighbours, community police forum members, patrollers and others that a crime is about to happen, or is actually in progress. It comprises a MeMeZa tech kit, installed in the home of a community member. When a remote button is pressed, an alert is sent to all of the above. In addition, a siren and strobe light mounted at the front of the house also alerts passers-by that there is a problem, and further enables the police and other responders to easily identify the house.
On installing alarms, the approach followed by MeMeZa is that the most vulnerable members of the community (rape victims, the elderly, genderbased violence victims, child headed households, LGBT people and those living with disabilities and albinism) are taken care of through sponsorships and government projects. Those who can afford to, pay for the service directly.
The alarm system, now fully developed, has been tested by The Innovation Hub and the Centre for Public Service Innovation, and is ready to take to market.
The AYO Scaling Africa Series challenge is a collaboration between the SA Innovation Summit and AYO Technology Solutions. It is aimed at identifying and empowering South African technopreneurs, as well as supporting local digital and tech-based businesses that are disrupting the ecosystem with novel ways of solving business and everyday needs of communities across Africa.
“South Africa is well-known for its innovative and entrepreneurial abilities. This competition proved this as a truism yet again. We have been duly impressed by all the entries we received, and well done to each of these inspiring technopreneurs on their dedication to moving South Africa forward,” says Jeni Kostova, Group Executive: Marketing and Communications at Ayo Technology Solutions.

The runners-up
The AYO Scaling Africa Series introduced great and useful solutions for South Africans. Here are the runners-up:

Dove Air
Dove Air, a drone delivery service that supplies vital medicines to hard-to-reach places. Dove Air provides almost instant access to urgent supplies of products such as vaccines or blood. It does this through technologically-advanced drones, called doves, and has serviced over 2000 hospitals. MEET The winner of AYO Scaling Africa Series MeMeZa Shout AYO Scaling .

The Red Cup Village
The Red Cup Village medical respirator is a SA Health Products Regulatory Authority–approved, 3D-printed medical device. It can fit any face shape and monitor a patient’s health through an application that sends an alert when they are running low on oxygen. It is environmentally friendly and 100% locally manufactured using recycled and biodegradable material.

The Marking App
The Marking App is a data-free mobile and web application that automatically marks school assignments, while simultaneously giving pupils access to immediate feedback and online support, as well as study material. It aims to not only reduce the time taken to mark assignments, but also increases the quality of assignments and support given to pupils.

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