Started in July 2015, DKR Concepts is the brain-child of a brother and sister duo: Kgosi and Dikeledi Rallele. D for Dikeledi, K for Kgosi and R for Rallele. The siblings joined forces to develop innovative business concepts to bridge the gap between the Khayelitsha township and the rest of the city.
Khayelitsha means ‘new home’ in Xhosa. It has been the new home of thousands of people, mostly for black Africans, for more than 30 years. It is now the second biggest township in South Africa after Soweto in Johannesburg, housing over 2 million people with most of them living in shacks. That makes up one third of Western Cape population. 50% of them are aged under 19. The unemployment rate is 73%. The settlement has a high population density and not enough resources to support the growing number of inhabitants, with one in three people walking 200 metres or further to access water.
Kgosi lives in Khayelitsha. He is 23 years old and loves his neighbourhood. Since the age of 16 he has had a multitude of ideas to better the life of people there and now he is able to make some of them tangible through his company DKR Concepts.
‘DKR Concepts is not just a business to sell things to customers. It’s much more than a product or a service you can box. For me, it means changing the life of people of the township by enabling access to facilities they can’t reach by themselves and above all, open their mind to a new world that is currently emerging in South Africa,’ Kgosi explains. An intuitive entrepreneur, Kgosi recognises the world is changing, especially through the use of new technologies and different ways of solving problems. For Kgosi, it’s important to move with the developing trends and not get left behind.
His first concern has been to make medication accessible and convenient to the community with the creation of the Med Store pharmacy in Town 2 Khayelitsha. Together with his sister, he bought a container and located it on the main Steve Biko Road. This container has a range of basic products for health and hygiene at unbeatable prices. This has been possible by dealing directly with Cipla Medpro, one of the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
‘Since we have opened nine months ago, we have already served around 1,700 people. On a day we can see up to 25 customers popping up at the store. They are all happy to discover our place that is so convenient for them. Khayelitsha is gigantic and is home to only three pharmacies!’ exclaims Kgosi. ‘If someone is sick, he has to take up to three taxis to go to the mall. This is a lot of money and strain,’ he adds. And the Med Store is not simply a store where you buy products. It’s a place where you can get advice from trained staff. ‘People love us for that!’
His second concern, not a minor one, is to help people make payment safely in the township. ‘A township is a place where robbery is more than frequent, and people do not subscribe to insurance policies,’ explains Kgosi.
Yoco is a technology-driven company that helps small business owners. Kgosi decided to introduce the Yoco software to his neighbourhood, enabling people to make payments through a physical device connected to a mobile phone. This virtual payment has already changed the daily life of many people in the community.
Following on from these improvements, DKR Concepts was a final nominee for the 2016 Small Business Awards organised by Sage One and Cape Talk. Kgosi hopes this recognition of the small company’s achievements will open doors to more opportunities. He’s certainly just getting started with ideas.
Building on these two successes, Kgosi Rallele is constantly searching for markets to develop and new opportunities to seize. The forward-thinking entrepreneur believes, ‘People in the townships are not only isolated from the world but also from each other. They would need places where they can meet together for business, such as shared places, cafés or working places. There is plenty of room here to build places where people can meet. What people need more here is connection. I really want to develop all this untapped potential. Khayelitsha is a gold mine.’
Kgosi is hopeful for the young twenty-something generation because they are exposed to the possibilities that come with evolving trends, opening doors to new freedoms. Kgosi has understood that one shall not resign but adapt to this new world. As he describes, ‘Winning is a habit.’ Instead of a revolution, he chose evolution, trying to make the system better than the current one, which soon could be out-of-date. ‘Last year, I had an accident which immobilised me for a long time. I then realised how difficult it was to access anything if you are not connected to the right people. If you want to get out of there, you have to decide to do something. You have to position yourself in the world, that makes your life easier,’ Kgosi says.
On the top of the hill that overlooks the sprawling Khayelitsha district, the ambitious entrepreneur faces a real challenge, but he is firmly committed to make his vision a reality – determined to connect all the people of his kingdom. It seems apt that ‘Kgosi’ means ‘King’ in Xhosa.
Although Catherine works as a communication manager in Paris, she chose to diversify her talents as a freelance journalist in Cape Town. This enabled her to discover the Mother City in a different way.
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