BEFORE Beats by Dre, there were brand headphones such as Koss Beatlephones dating as far back as the 1960s.
While there’s no doubt that Beats by Dre, which has become a multi-billion dollar empire in just six short years, holds the title of top headphone brand in the world, local innovator Siyabonga Ndwalane is working around the clock as he plans to launch his own headphones brand.
Today headphones and earphones have become fashion statements and one of those accessories that have become a staple in how people consume music.
Ndwalane is no novice in the electronics industry.
He is the brains behind the portable bluetooth speakers called Turn Up.
The disruptive innovation, from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) alumni, has been making waves in the increasingly crowded portable speaker market. The charismatic and persistent entrepreneur believes passion and determination is what drives one to be the best they can be.
For Ndwalane, this has proven to be true as he recently sought the attention of South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa at this year’s African Renaissance Festival which was held in Durban.
Ndwalane struck up a conversation with president Ramaphosa, requesting his help in promoting his business on a national level.
“I have just come back from Cairo Egypt, where I represented the country at an innovation exhibition. I won the Johannesburg Entrepreneurial competition, I was also given the Innovator of the year Award by DUT. I also have a MoU with the institution. We are planning to establish a foundation where we will be giving a bursary to a deserving student. I want to be able to encourage DUT students to pursue their dreams and not give up,” he said.
“We have been putting in the work and have started manufacturing headphones and microphones. There are some DUT theatre rooms and boardrooms which are fitted with our equipment. We have our own in-house equipment and we no longer outsource designs, everything is in-house. With the growing demand I have five people I work with full-time and a new branch in Joburg is in the pipeline. I am currently working on some cutting edge designs for the headphones and speakers which I will be taking to Finland next month. I am now looking at making plasma screens, head phones and even a clothing range. We are busy doing the prototype so that will be on the cards soon,,” said an excited Ndwalane.
Although Ndwalane sources the batteries, speakers and amplifies from China, he says ultimately he would love to source everything locally. He explained that it takes them four hours to complete ten quality speakers. They also do customization and servicing of the speakers. Turn-Up speakers have Aux, FM Radio, USB Port, Bluetooth connectivity and are perfect for outdoor gym sessions and as a home sound device. They use recycled PVC pipes from construction sites, in their small little way, decreasing the 15% waste created by construction material. Ndwalane is reachable on 079 766 5619 or on social media.