Business began with two PCs

Leseja Mokgata

Leseja Mokgata

While her peers went to the city to find employment, 21-year-old Pinki Baloyi used her back yard to start a thriving Internet business.

With just two computers, Baloyi started Londz Internet cafe in her mother's house in Diepkloof, Soweto, in February this year.

She said: "People in my neighbourhood did not have a place, where they could access the Internet. I decided to do something about it, and got a dial-up connection.

"I started with an old PC, which I've had since high school, and saved my pocket money to buy a second PC and a printer for the business."

Fast Internet access in the townships is scarce, and dial-up connections aren't quick enough for transferring large document and complex applications.

Baloyi said: "I struggled to get Internet access in the township.

"I had to travel all the way to the Johannesburg CDB to send an e-mail. I thought to myself: 'how many people face a similar problem everyday'."

In March, Baloyi was one of the 100 people selected by MWeb to carry out trials for the new WiMAX technology - an alternative to slow dial-up connections and Telkom's ADSL lines.

Trialists were given a free computer, which upped Baloyi's number of terminals to three.

WiMAX is a telecommunications technology which provides wireless data over long distances in a variety of ways - from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular type access.

She said: "It's very fast and simple to use, but when the weather is bad, it doesn't work well."

An electronics student at Intec college, Baloyi also does maintenance on all her equipment.

She said: "I know how to change components inside the computer if I have to, so technically everything runs smoothly all the time."

The Internet has gone from attracting 10 to 12 customers daily, to bringing in as many as 30 a day.

Baloyi said: "I'm making a good profit for a small business such as mine. But I now want to move to bigger premises and get more equipment."