No one wants to live in fear — fear of being harmed while taking a walk around your neighbourhood, fear of being harmed by a jealous lover, or of being a random target of an opportunistic criminal. Yet this has sadly been the reality of many South African women, especially over the past few years.
"South Africa femicide rate is five times more than the global rate," Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, told a femicide imbizo last year.
While technology can neither replace what human beings should fix within themselves nor the role of law enforcement, it can help. And yes, it's sad that we partly have to rely on apps for some level of security, but if that's what it takes so we can kick it with our girlfriends with some peace of mind, let it be.
We've highlighted three of these impressive safety technology apps that we believe every South African woman should have at least one of in her phone:
At the touch of a button, the app – available for free – alerts police and other emergency agencies, as well as citizen responders, to the fact that a user need help.
GPS technology allows responders to pinpoint your location to help them reach you faster.
Namola recently partnered with ride-hailing app Taxify, launching an in-app safety button in an attempt to improve passenger and driver safety.
@NamolaApp is proud to celebrate 150,000 user sign-ups. Thank you South Africa. We will keep working to make sure you #GetHelpFast. https://t.co/d7xR21u7cF@NamolaApp is supported by @dialdirect and @SABCFoundationpic.twitter.com/9Mh8K3tcIb— Namola (@NamolaApp) April 5, 2018
*NAMOLA, so sorry African friends 🤗— My name is Sharika 💋 (@LadyThriller69) April 4, 2018
Not only does it provide tracking assistance — tracking your movements and letting your contacts know if you're in danger – it also serves as a "one-stop-shop" solution for access to the closest and most appropriate emergency services in South Africa.
The app has also recently launched a small wearable panic button that notifies your mySOS emergency contacts if you need urgent help, with no need to find your phone or look through your contact list.
At the click of a button, the app records audio, video, images taking place around you and alerts your contacts. It's designed to act as your "virtual witness".
The app can also identify the nearest police station, fire station or hospital and can also call a user's armed response company.
"With MiBlackBox's offsite secure server, once incriminating files are recorded, it doesn't matter what happens to the cellphone," Brent Thomson, managing director of MiBlackBox told IOL.