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Crowdfunded community alarm system aims to make informal settlements safer

The Jonga system will alert shack-dwellers and their neighbours of forced entry  via their cellphones.
The Jonga system will alert shack-dwellers and their neighbours of forced entry via their cellphones.

Unlike those who can afford a security system for their homes, residents in informal settlements have virtually no way of telling if their homes are being invaded. But now, a new cost-effective alarm system is looking to change that.

Most township alarm systems we’ve seen lately, like Lumkani andScova, are made to combat fires in townships. Cape Town-based startup, Jonga – which means “watch” in isiXhosa – created an alarm system to tackle an equally big issue in such areas: crime.

According to a crowdfunding campaign on Thundafund, the Jonga system can detect forced entry attempts by intruders. A resident is alerted to the intrusion on their cellphone and can alert their neighbours, who are also on the Jonga network, via a notification forwarded to their phones.

“Calling for the surrounding community to help when a single house is under threat introduces a sense of community within the neighbourhood,” Jonga explained on its campaign page.

If the alarm is false and it turns out not to be an intruder, you can simply dismiss the alarm and not notify your neighbours.

The system works with two ultra-sonic sensors which detect the intruder which send a signal to the Jonga device, which in turn sends the notification to the home owner’s cellphone.

Jonga needs a total of R80 000 which will help distribute its system across Cape Town. The campaign’s tipping point is R20 000, meaning if they reach that amount, they will keep all proceeds and be able to manufacture 20 units to pilot in one of the city’s townships.

The Thundafund campaign has garnered R11 500 of its goal, with 24 days left until it closes. Should you feel inspired to contribute, you can support the campaign with a minimum donation of R50, all the way up to R10k in various increments.


This article first appeared on

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