MSc BIS Field Trip 2022 

   - Bambanani  - 

The Diary

Where business dreams come true...

The FHNW organizers welcome you to the diary of the...

...Field Trip Local Edition 2022!

The Diary structure is such that for each company/university presentation there is an article, followed by its authors (i.e. students to whom the visit was assigned), and some photos taken during the talk. For each extra activities only photos are shown. Presentations are shown in chronological order from the first event to the most recent one. 

Enjoy, and let yourself inspire...

Presentation of Swiss Embassy/CSIR

The presentation of the Swiss embassy in Pretoria was held by three members of the embassy. They initiate and support collaboration in different fields of research and innovation, education, and government. Besides this collaboration, they work with Swiss companies together to support new technologies like blockchain or artificial intelligence. And they are focused on how to make an Ecosystem, especially in education, research, and innovation. Another initiative is about the consulting of South Africa's entrepreneurs and schools. The goal is to spread the insights of the Swiss education all over the world.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships, Skill Development, and Higher education Collaboration are the main focus of the Education Collaboration approach. For the advancement in frontier science: Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, Switzerland and South Africa are engaged in joint research projects since 2008.

Focusing on innovation has been the major goal of this organization of adventure. Barring in mind the future technology, there are some activities that both countries are collaborating on the Innovation approach: Swiss South Africa Business Development Programme, Academia to Industry Training (AIT), and Innovation Challenges and Projects. High-level Governmental Meetings, Conferences, Events and Workshops, and Delegations are the activities that are done for connecting.

An interesting topic we talked about is inequality. They showed us a picture of Sandton and Alexandria. On one side are the houses of the rich people and on the other is the township. We talked about the B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) act where the government tries to reduce the inequalities.  Those inequalities in South Africa are sometimes a problem. On the other hand, there are changes and advantages to this diversity.

Sandton and Alexandria

Engen Oil25.01.2022

Engen Oil is one of the biggest oil companies in South Africa, operating approximately 1’280 service stations across seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. The Engen group is mainly focusing on marketing petroleum, lubricants, functional fluids, and chemicals. The group has extensive storage and distribution facilities with a transport fleet of over 200 vehicles and 4 large shipping vessels.

On the 25th of January, we had the opportunity and pleasure to hear from Peter Du Plooy, the CIO of Engen Oil. He started by presenting the South African business environment and the Covid-19 impact on the country’s GDP and the industry. After a brief discussion about the economic recovery estimates post Covid-19, we switched to the topic of Business & IT strategy. We were presented 3 ways of Business & IT strategy creation. Nowadays no business can run without a resilient IT organization, thus we agreed on the importance of the Business & IT strategy co-creation. 

Mr. Du Plooy continued by introducing us to some examples of the IT Operational strategy of Engen Oil and how IT is supporting smooth business operations while transitioning towards a Lean IT organization. 

We finished the day by discussing the importance of IT democratization and the fusion of business and IT knowledge into empowered teams. In such an organization, the role of the CIO changes slightly and the main role becomes to equip and empower others to safely build and maintain digital capabilities.

Township Tour: Mr. Mzu Lembeni • 26.01.2022

On Wednesday, 26.01.2022, the BIS field trip study group had the pleasure of being guided by Mzu from iMzu Tours through townships near Cape Town in South Africa.


Mzu Lembeni, a Khayelitsha local and the driving force behind Imzu Tours, launched the company in 2011 after years of wanting to show tourists Khayelitsha, the township where he grew up. Since then, he has organized and led more than 10’000 township tours, connected thousands more tourists to township life, has expanded to include the township of Langa, and has given a percentage of each tour back to the communities where iMzu Tours operates.

Our tour first led through Langa, a small township with around 50’000 people living there. He showed how people live inside the small container houses, and walked us through a beer brewery and art store. It was very impressive. The people only have a bed, a tv, and a small kitchen in their little container where they live with their family of usually around 5 people. Some still cook with fire. The bathroom is outside and shared with several families. As we can imagine, the winters are very hard. In the container houses, it gets very cold and they are not all watertight, so when it rains, they have problems using electricity. Therefore they also have problems with fires.


Then the tour guide went to the Khayelitsha township with over 390’000 people living there. He walked us through a government-owned primary school. There we learned to count in the African language Xhosa: Zintandathu = 6, Zisixhenxe = 7, … 

Later he showed us a flea market and tried to find the spinach king, the owner of the spinach king restaurants. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find him so he went to a coffee culture restaurant in Khayelitsha where we had the opportunity to talk with an employee of the coffee shop. 

She explained that they try to bring the coffee culture to the locals because it was not so popular there. Before opening the coffee shop, they started with a bike shop (Khaltsha Cycles), which is still existing and flourishing next door.


It became clear that the conditions there are certainly not the same as in Switzerland. Nevertheless, there are consistently innovative ideas coming out of townships.

When you take an Imzu Tour, you are giving back to the people of the Townships and making a meaningful difference in their lives.


Danilo Dattilo

Nicolas Stucky

South Africa is Africa's southernmost country with nearly 60 million people which is formally known as the Republic of South Africa (RSA).                             The country has a population of 1,221,037 people and is the world's 23rd largest country (471,445 square miles). Pretoria, judicial Bloemfontein, and legislative Cape Town are the three capital cities of South Africa. Johannesburg is the country's capital. Around 80% of South Africans are of Black African origin, and they are separated into ethnic groups that speak a variety of African languages. The remaining population is made up of the continent's largest populations of European (White South Africans), Asian (Indian and Chinese South Africans), and Multiracial (Colored South Africans) ancestry. According to the 2011 census, Zulu (22.7 percent) and Xhosa (21.7 percent) are the two most commonly spoken first languages (16.0 percent ).               The following two are European in origin: English (9.6%) symbolizes the history of British colonialism and is extensively used in public and business life; Afrikaans (13.5%) is derived from Dutch and serves as the first language of most Coloured and White South Africans.


Uhuru is Africa`s first Consumer Electronics brand and manufacturer of home and personal electronics. Uhuru`s ambition during the next 10 years is to connect 500 million people on the African continent to their products and services.


Uhuru is founded by Daniel K Thebe. Daniel Thebe is a thought leader in African brand communication and reputation management who has received numerous awards. Daniel graduated from the University of Cape Town with a bachelor's degree in Brand Communication and Business Administration. He believes in developing and owning innovative media platforms that are interwoven into society for it to achieve self-realization.


Daniel Thebe grew up in an entrepreneurial home where his father had a home-based cinema, he charged children to see movies, as well as a security company and a spazashop. His business mind started from this event


He has a mindset of “think like a villager and act globally”.

Woolworths: Mrs. Fraeeza Natha, IT Manager (Business & IT Strategy) • Mr. Christopher Brikkels, Head of IT (Marketing, Woolworths Financial & Online) 31.01.2022 | morning

In the morning of the fourth day of our International Field Trip South Africa 2022 – Local Edition – we had a short, but insightful presentation of Woolworths, made by the IT Manager Faeeza Natha and the Head of IT Christopher Brikkels.

Woolworths is a successful retail business in South Africa, with headquarters in Cape Town, more than 700 stores in 9 different Provinces. Also known in South Africa as “Woolies”, the company offers a unique blend of food, fashion, beauty, homeware, and financial services with the vision to be a leading fashion retailer in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first Woolworths store opened its doors to the public in Cape Town in 1931 and during this almost 91 years, it has been the first South African retail company that introduced sustainable packaging, innovations, and new technologies to improve their businesses and customer experiences. 

Below, some milestones of Woolworths:


Ÿ  Presentation highlights:


Faeeza and Christopher gave a briefing on the macro view of South Africa, Covid's impacts, challenges and lessons learned and showed their IT roadmap themes and the unique customer solutions and experiences introduced in Woolworths’ business.

On their IT Roadmap, they listed 4 themes: Business, People, Process and, Technology. 

Hybrid cloud technology and online/app operational model are some goals into Process. 

As an agile company, Woolworths try to act in a not traditional hierarchy structure, looking to change processes or implement new projects, products, and new business ideas in a faster way, especially into the Online Department. They are developing and growing its digital and online business since years ago and as Corona crisis changed the needs of customers, they were better prepared to offer digitalization to the customers compared to their competitors. The pandemic was a great opportunity to introduce unique and digital services and tools to bring more value to their customers.

A new business model was created during the crises with the possibility to act in the delivery business, offering their products in a fast way with the strategy to use their warehouse inside the cities to facilitate and agile their delivery. Woolworths is improving digital services and keeping contact with clients in a fast-paced and online way, offering products, consultation and experiences using VR tools.

They are very advanced into South African’s market when related to technology: they have a strong and growing digital business platform and were the first retail company to implement VR on their beauty online store. For example, at their website is possible to virtually “test” beauty products' colors in different types of skins. They used the good timing to launch new digital and online business offers as well as sustainable packing and delivery services of their products.

Woolworths works in an agile way of creating, managing, and implementing projects, products, and services, focusing on their Online Department that aims to keep their digital business running well. Woolworths works with the Business Strategy and IT Strategy very alignment and the company shows a solid fusion into the Digital Business Strategic.


Gabriela Caldeira Conçalves