Inventor of portable speakers aims to run the continent

A lot of young South Africans are making a name for themselves in the business industry by becoming innovative in the technology sector. One such entrepreneur who’s currently on that path is Siyabonga Innocent Ndwalane. The 31 year old Durban University of Technology (DUT) alumni is the mastermind behind portable Bluetooth speakers called Turn Up. 

Siyabonga describes himself as an innovative industrialist entrepreneur who was born and raised in the KwaMakhutha Township, south of Durban. A year and six months ago, he bought a Bluetooth speaker which fell and broke within three months. Later he bought two others which also broke within a short period of time.

“I wasn’t going to buy a fourth one; I only had R600 in my pocket but I needed something to entertain myself, especially when I rode my bike around the streets of Durban,” he said.

Using broken pieces of all three of his previous devices, Ndwalane decided to develop his own Bluetooth speakers – first building them into bags and broken guitars, and later discovering that a PVC pipe was the best for acoustics and portability.

“When I built my own speaker I used broken electronics from my previous speakers together with used PVC pipes from construction sites” 

Ndwalane went on to say that each speaker features a radio tuner, an SD card input and a USB port. Even though the inspiration behind Turn Up speakers was as a result of frustration and his dire need for entertainment, the young inventor said he did not take the idea seriously until he had a database of more than 30 people who wanted their own speakers.

“So far we have produced over 200 speakers. My next milestone is producing 1 000 more speakers and my goal & vision for my business is that I want every household all over Africa to own my speakers,” he added.

Although his invention has been making waves in the increasingly crowded portable speaker market, Ndwalane expressed his gratitude to his initial customers who were security guards, domestic workers and other low-income earners. It is for this reason that his speakers are sold at an affordable price of R600 (and R700 for a custom made one).

The success of Turn Up speakers is drawing the attention of many media houses, thus making Siyabonga quite popular. He says that he constantly reminds himself that he is an entrepreneur, not a celebrity, and it is the speakers that are famous, not him. Siyabonga has also formed a partnership with DUT to solve the institution’s problem of audibility in the lecture halls and continues to work with his mentors.

The Turn Up company has a team of ten young people. Five of them work full time and the other five work on a part-time basis. Due to a high demand for the speakers, Ndwalane also said that they are recruiting “hustlers” who will buy and sell in their market.

Igagasi FM interview highlights

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For more information email ikusasalami@gmail.com or call/whatsapp: +27 79 766 5619.

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  1. Reply
    Rev Makhaye says

    I need an adress from Siyabonga Ndwalane in our church service, on 01/07/2018 by the church Apostolic Faith Mission – Yahweh Fellowship Centre Assembly next to Max Lifestyle V section. please contact on 082 438 4335 or whatsapp 079 302 2321. Thank you Rev. Dr. MH Makhaye Senior Pastor

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