Please call


By Kabelo Mollo

Nkosana Makata the “Please call me” inventor is back in court seeking resolution to his marathon case with Vodacom South Africa. The longer the matter drags on, the smaller the manoeuvring space for either party. From a layman’s perspective it would seem Makata leads on points although Vodacom continues to bob and weave to use a boxing metaphor.

In the most Stalingrad of tactics, the behemoth telecoms operator has dragged this out for 20years. No doubt other multinational corporations will have their eyes fixed on the matter hoping there’s no landmark settlement. Outrageous settlements where the little guy wins tend to encourage other little guys to grit their teeth and take on the Goliath that they otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with. That’s why I’m unequivocally supporting Makata. That reason alone!

This last week on Twitter was a great example of why Makata needs to go through with this case, to the nth degree. Many on my timeline were lobbing all kinds of insults and derision at the guy. The bulk were saying he should’ve taken the money and ran long ago, while others were saying in the same position they’d have settled before the matter went any distance.


I can appreciate the sentiments. Cost of living feels like it’s at an all-time high and also our generation and the ones that follow just have no patience. Everything is at our fingertips and immediacy is what we demand, so a twenty year wait for a decision that feeds mainly principle doesn’t seem like a great investment. But thank God for Makata and the like. We need those outliers who will make it possible for other small guys to stand on something solely based on principle.

I used to love the “yoooh Vuyo, he’s such a big dreamer” advert. It was the kind of aspirational message that spoke right to the core of me. I am a big dreamer. I want to see our little digital radio station become a major player on the continent and then on a global stage. I want to see the majestic kingdom in the sky exalted as a dynamic country that has exceeded even our wildest of expectations! I want to see my friends and those around me hit the highest highs and stay there. And because my glass is half full I genuinely believe in every opportunity I begin or invest in.

Even experience can’t unteach that optimism in me. So when I see many of my peers bemoaning the guys staying power it both irks and saddens me. Why, I wonder do these guys not see that he’s doing this as much for himself as the rest of us?

In his epic memoir “Long walk to freedom” Tata Mandela recalls his first wife Evelyn was weary of his struggle work and displeased with his attempts at toppling the regime of the day. I’m certain there were many like ‘me Evelyn who thought the apartheid state would never be defeated and who thought the struggle was a waste of time and energy. Just as well then there were as Many, or perhaps even more who recognised that in fact the war was both just and necessary and some were even prepared to pay the ultimate price. Those outliers who were brave, strong and had the fortitude of warriors! That’s who Makata is in the scenario. A brave warrior taking on a seemingly unbeatable institution. Though it’s worth noting that this matter has got this far because the courts, too, recognise that he very much has a leg to stand on, and might even have two!

I know many won’t be convinced by this piece and that’s fine, but I really hope the guy gets a settlement of a billion and more and that every big corporate re-evaluates how it engages in matters like this. This oft used strategy of dragging the matter out as long as is humanly possible must go to the shade, replaced by dialogue that yields results all parties are satisfied. This idea that “The system always wins” is defeatist and must be nipped in the bud.

Please call him victorious!