Is Local Lekker..?

What is it with South Africans? I ask this is all seriousness because we have a national trait of dissing anything local as inferior or as 'unwashed' when compared with international products and services. From our cars, to our clothing, technical gadgets and any other consumer product, local isn't really lekker!

And not only don't we support and buy local, but we tend to praise great 'South African's' and their inventions or achievements only after they have left these shores for better and more welcoming markets and consumers abroad. Take the recent fuss about Elon Musk - who left this country nearly forty years ago and who we proudly proclaim as a South African giant! Nonsense - he's as American as Apple Pie and his birthplace has nothing to do with his achievements, but we want to believe. There are countless South Africans - living here and contributing to this economy, that deserve this kind of recognition while they still have time.

In this country, there is an aversion to seeing any fellow South African get ahead by supporting and recognising their achievements while they still reside and contribute to their country of birth. We tend to laugh at the Australian 'tall poppy syndrome' when it is alive and well right here at home. Whether its IT infrastructure - where we have some of the most experienced and globally acknowledged specialists; medicine and drug development companies; doctors and specialist skills; tourism and business experts and consumer goods in general. We still prefer to support and buy foreign!

A leading motorcycle retailer recently decided against supporting a locally developed life-saving system for motorcyclists because they could import bike tracking systems cheaper from abroad - and by so doing, make bigger markups. That the products they sell fail to meet even the most basic of tracking and biker expectations is not the point - or so I'm told. It's about making money and therefore promoting products made in China, Italy and other parts of the world makes more business sense. Forget the fact that none of the products they import and sell to their unsuspecting clients make any effort to save lives or prevent unnecessary deaths from perfectly survivable motorcycle accidents. That clearly doesn't make money for them.

And this is a general consumer problem too. We would rather buy something that we have seen in international magazines than support truly home-grown, superior products. Yes, I understand that its got a lot to do with the lack of track-record of new South African products, but even the best in the world started at the same position on the marketplace. If the local product offers nothing better than the imported product - and at a lower price, then I can understand the hesitancy. But when local products clearly provide better and more advanced systems than anything on the market, there is no excuse - even if it does cost a little more initially. What we forget is that the development of many initiatives and products cost incredible sums in terms of compliance and connectivity, and that many of them rely on hardware and other components that are only available offshore. Every new product - anywhere in the world, is more expensive than existing models or existing competitors, so why should we be judging local products any differently.

South African products and services compete more than adequately with their international competitors in almost every field (politicians don't count), yet the national psyche demands that we ignore it until it makes global headlines! That's so wrong on almost every level and if we are serious about pulling ourselves up out of the morass we find ourselves in in this country, its an attitude we need to change. Collectively, we need to realistically compare between the products we want to buy and if the local product provides clearly superior benefits or services to imported alternatives, BUY LOCAL !

Imported does not always translate to superior. Take the Leatt neck-brace as an example. No-one in the world makes anything as effective than Leatt, and the list goes on, but its only when developers and entrepreneurs move manufacturing off-shore; emigrate with their products or sell the manufacturing rights to a global conglomerate that we tend to take notice. I know the song says that '...if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere...' but c'mon people. Really?

Get out there and support South African products - not because they are South African, but because they are generally better and more advanced than others because a better understanding of our local conditions and on-ground situation.


About Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel has been developed locally to meet the particular challenges of motorcycling in southern Africa. Our systems are based on international best-practice, using local expertise and specialists in their respective fields. Not only is Guardian Angel far more advanced than any imported or local equivalent, but it offers technology that beats anything else available. It is the only theft deterrent, tracking, emergency response and lifestyle motorcycle system with a 24/7, fully-manned control room monitoring each bike and protocols that ensure the safety of both you and your bike.

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