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Recycle a phone today

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It is estimated that South Africa generates 300 000 tonnes of e-waste a year – making it the second highest in Africa. This mobile phone recycling today take your electronics to a recycling depot instead of dumping them.

Did you receive a new smartphone, tablet or television for Christmas? Are your children enjoying new electronic toys? This International Mobile Phone Recycling Day, South Africans must consider recycling the goods these gifts have replaced, or donating them for refurbishment.

The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, released by a specialised agency of the United Nations, estimates that 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2016. Of that amount, only about 20% was recycled.

Each year, South Africa generates about 300,000 tonnes of electronic waste – about 5,7kgs per citizen. In Africa, we’re the second-highest generator of e-waste.

“Mobile devices are among the most disposable of electronic goods, contributing significantly to the shocking amounts of e-waste generated every year,” explains Alicja Radwanska, Chief Marketing Officer at weFix. “Consider that South Africa is one of the most connected countries on the continent. As devices locally get more affordable, we can upgrade and replace smartphones and tablets more frequently which is fantastic for individuals – but there is a resulting risk to the environment.”

The Jane Goodall Institute’s International Mobile Phone Recycling Day campaign was started to protect chimpanzees and safeguard their habitats, threatened by extraction of minerals used to manufacture electronic devices. Control over mining these minerals has created conflict among human communities, and perpetuated unsustainable livelihoods for the people in areas like the Congo Basin.

Pauline Stuart from South Africa’s Jane Goodall Institute says:  “As consumers, we can make a big difference by recycling our phones and reducing the demand for these minerals. Doing so removes these electronics from the waste stream, and reduces the demand for extraction of resources from the habitats that many species – especially chimpanzees, other great apes, and human beings – call home.

“Extraction of these natural resources involves destroying the forests that chimpanzees call home. Tracts of forest are cleared to make way for new roads leading to mining sites which then open the previously inaccessible forest to loggers and poachers. Control over the mining of these minerals has fuelled conflict among human communities and perpetuated unsustainable livelihoods for people who migrate to forests in search of safety from the conflict, which also results in the hunting of local wildlife for food, including chimpanzees for bushmeat (food) and pet trades.”

Radwanska says that South Africans are increasingly calling for refurbished or reconditioned items products that exist within a new ‘circular economy’ that rejects the ‘take, make and dispose’ industrial model. In the last few years, local companies such as Vodacom, DSTV, and weFix are offering refurb or repair products that are affordable and environmentally conscientious.

weFix believes that there is great value giving a ‘second life’ to mobile devices that are pre-owned, damaged during shipment, demo units that are shop-soiled, or new devices that have a fault upon opening.

“Acknowledging that our business is part of a wider industry that generates e-waste, weFix has partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to educate South Africans about device recycling, and to make it really easy for citizens to dispose of their devices responsibly,” says Radwanska.

From today, weFix will place recycle bins in its 35 stores around the country, part of an ongoing initiative to promote recycling and refurbishment of mobile and other electronic devices.

“Consumers are invited to drop off any old devices instore. For every 20 devices we recycle, we will also adopt a chimpanzee for a year, with the aim of sponsoring all 33 chimps at Chimp Eden in Mpumalanga.”

“Recycling devices, donating them for refurbishment and purchasing refurbished, rather than new, devices, are all important, impactful ways that citizens can ensure our love of electronic devices doesn’t risk the environment and human health,” says Radwanska.D

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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