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By Duncan Guy 6h ago

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Durban – Boniswa Mayeza’s vision for a South Africa taken to a new level by developing technology has its roots in her birth.

The 25-year-old is one of nine finalists in this year’s Santam Women of the Future Awards for an app she has designed that allows people to request any emergency service and provide a precise location.

She is one of three nominated Rising Star 2020 go-getters who are 30 and under.

“When my mother was about to give birth to me, the ambulance did not arrive and neighbours assisted her,” she told the Independent on Saturday.

“There were complications and when I came out of the womb, my eyes were bleeding.”

Mayeza lived with eye problems during the first four years of her life in her rural birth place at Bhobhobho, near Umzinto.

She left the area to graduate from uMlazi’s Kwamgaga High School and Durban University of Technology, where she studied management, and began to research the reasons women in rural areas were let down by ambulances, like her mother had been.

“One reason is that ambulances get lost in rural areas. There are no street signs around and it can be very hard to find an actual location. So now I have come up with a solution.”

Her app, Shesha (“hurry up”), will be launched this month.

“Someone in need of help will programme their need into the app. Breakdown services and ambulances in the area will then be ‘beeped’,” she said, adding that GPS technology will tell them where one is stranded.

“Then it works like Uber. You’ll be able to see from the app exactly where the emergency vehicle is and how far it is while it’s on its way.”

The innovation fulfils two of her ambitions – to make sure other rural mothers do not go through what her mother experienced, and to help develop South Africa.

The app also has an e-learning component, allowing teachers and pupils to download study material, which she particularly hopes will help people in rural areas.

She hopes too that her business, based on her app, will give her the opportunity to create employment opportunities for women.

Santam has hosted the competition in association with Fair Lady and True Love magazines.

“This year has been an extraordinarily difficult one for business everywhere, not just in South Africa,” said Fairlady editor Suzy Brokensha.

“Reading the nearly 700 entries we received this year made me want to stand up and applaud.” Winners will be announced next month.

The Independent on Saturday

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