All about the man behind the Zuluish kettle brand that has everyone talking

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Yandisa Zulu is the owner of the brand behind the kettle, Zuluish.
Yandisa Zulu is the owner of the brand behind the kettle, Zuluish.

It is almost a week since he launched his product, Zuluish, but the kettle has already left many boiling.

The Gauteng-born entrepreneur Yandisa Zulu is shocked at the reaction. He really didn't expect it, he tells Drum. 

He was labelled a tribalist for the name and he found himself having to explain why he chose it. 

"Zulu is my surname, unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it," he laughs it off. 

zuluish
The Zuluish kettle that has sparked tense tribalism conversations.

"I did not expect this. Honestly, it is bitter-sweet because it has led to many conversations. 

"Hearing things like I am a tribalist, I can't even be mad at those people because division was taught to us for more than 100 years," he says.

"But I am glad my business sparked these conversation so we can grow as a society. As a young South African man, this is what I would like to see, instead of spending millions annually on appliances of companies that are not necessarily from South Africa.

"I would like to change that narrative and inspire other people to start opening own manufacturing companies."

The kettle retails for R350, and when we speak to him, Yandisa only has less than 12% of stock left.

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Although excited about the success of the kettle, he says his company, Zuluish Appliances and Automation has bigger plans. 

"The global economy is moving and has moved to automation. 

"If you speak to someone about artificial intelligence, robotics, aquaponics, they don’t know. 

"Things we get excited about in the country are designed by grade A students in other countries," he says. 

He has been criticised for selling a kettle that is manufactured in China and rebranding it. 

But in his defense, social media users were quick to highlight that most of products we use are made outside the country anyway. 

"I got an opportunity to move to Canada three years ago because of an idea I had. I turned it down. 

"I am planning to build and improve South Africa even if it takes me 10 years," he says.

This is a dream he's passionate about.  

"One of the projects that still needs to be developed is the aqua culture. Even the fish that go into our water, we are not benefiting from it. A simple thing as fish. 

"It’s either we produce or we are consumers. There is no technology built in Africa but we are the biggest consumers. If you want business, you come to South Africa."

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His plan is to manufacture globally competitive products so that the country can be better positioned in the global market.

"Right now we only have the kettle. Unfortunately, people have criticised us too early. It is a prep product. This is not a key product that we [will] have in store. 

"The ideas we have are still with us. In the meantime, I need money to build a manufacturing company at least R6million would do for now," Yandisa says.

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