We caught up with Mr. Kennedy Liswani, a young Namibian entrepreneur who owns Katoshe D30, a cellphone brand that has Namibian local languages.
Tell us about Elephonic mobile?
Elephonic mobile is mobile phone manufacturing & mobile technology company, we are
currently operating in Namibia & South Africa. Our company was founded in 2017 and I’m the
founder and CEO of the company. Elephonic was founded & formed with one objective and that
is to solve the problem of accessible mobile communicating services by providing high quality
mobile devices & technologies to Namibians and African people at large and these devices must
be designed and engineer to suit our local people on all levels.
What inspired you to start your own mobile brand?
It all stated about 3 years ago when I purchased a very expensive smartphone brand that I lost
within a week and replaced it with a cheaper android phone that cost me 1 quarter of the price
I paid for the first phone, it then struck me one night that I did not feel any different apart from
literally flushing down N$ 15,000 and to add insult to injury I discovered that it only cost this
specific brand N$ 2500 to manufacture this phone which meant the margins they were making
from smartphone sales were exuberantly astronomical but I ignored it and continued living my
life and giving my money to western smartphone brands. Fast forward a year or 2 later the
world inevitably began talking about the current state of technology and the 4th industrial
revolution, every other political dialogues was centered around technological transformation
and Africa as a case study was constantly referenced. After a few months of doing research on
mobile phone manufacturing, the process and especially how our brand could add value and
position itself as leader in innovation in order to avail mobile communicating access to
marginalized Namibians & Africans at large, it all made sense and we decided to just do it and
learn along the way and along the way we found out things like the need for local languages in
mobile phones and immediately contacted translators to translate our menu strings into some
our local languages and as the saying goes the rest is history.
Who are the target audience for your brand?
Our target audience is quite broad in the sense that our products cater for different segments
from youthful consumers who need the latest slick & slim design mobile phone with a high
quality camera for selfies & social media to business users who require a business mobile
device with on the go functionality and most importantly the general consumer from young to
old who just need a quality product with basic calling & SMS functionally with a battery life that
can last a whole whole week under moderate use hence our KATOSHE D30, which can actually
last as long as 30 DAYS on standby if switched on and unused and we strongly believe that
KATOSHE D30 is a very important mobile phone for our market because it appeals to all
consumers from all walks of life and the fact that it can be operated in local languages I strongly
believe it deserves to be called a NATIONAL TRAESURE because it solves a critical language
barrier problem, and every Namibian citizen should own one for the sake of patriotism and of
course it’s LONG BATTERY LIFE and it has WhatsApp too WHATSAPP too.
Where can people purchase them and for how much?
Our phones are currently available for pre-order from our website www.elephonicmobile.com
were we have a special “edition 1” that comes in an exclusive tusk white colour and only 1000
of this “edition 1” will be sold across the whole country. Apart from our website the phones will
be available in various cellphone shops and independent resellers across the country.
The official price is N$350 per phone.
For more information clients can direct all sale queries to our Tel: 085 668 9837 or
What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
We faced quite a number of challenges that we managed to over come but the biggest 2
biggest challenges was funding the project out of my own pockets without any loans or help
from anyone and also acquiring required documentation & CE test reports in order to obtain
the telecommunications type approval certificate from the Communication Regulatory
Authority Of Namibia (CRAN), but once we provided them with all the required documentation
and item they requested, they were very efficient & professional and our certification was
issued in record time. We are however still waiting for ICASA certification for our South African
Authority but we should have that matter sorted in the next month or so. I do however believe
the biggest challenges and responsibilities are still ahead.
What can we expect from elephonic mobile in the future?
We plan expand our business and have representation of our brand in all African countries
hence company mantra “CONNECTING AFRICA”, as a matter of fact the company is currently
also registered in South Africa and he already have the south African version of the KATOSHE
D30 ready for the shelves in SA once we have all the papers in place.
Later this year we are introducing our Elephonic 4G pocket WIFI & Smartphone as well, we are
also in the process of obtaining a class (ECS) licence in order to provide our clients services such
as internet, VPN etc.
Words of motivation to those looking to start a business?
My advice is Before anyone any aspiring entrepreneur starts a business I advice them to ask
themselves the following 6 questions.
1. Does the idea solve a problem?
2. Is the idea profitably scalable?
3. How can it be monetized?
4. Are you passionate about it?
5. Are there any regulatory requirements (i.e. permits and other documents needed to
6. Is the timing right?
If all the above answers are YES then it time to START don’t wait for the right time to start, most
aspiring entrepreneurs spend a lot of time with business plans and excessive planning trying to
perfect their idea or business model but the unfortunate truth is one will never get the right
answers and perfect a business concept with out trying and failing. The fear of failure is the
number one reason why most entrepreneurs never get started, if you want to start up a
business and you really believe in your idea get rid of all your safety nets even if it means you
need to quit your job, loose your salary and downgrade your comfortable lifestyle, just do it,
some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs have soared from desperation and desperation can
serve as a positive source of motivation as long as you don’t do anything illegal. Another
important piece of advice is READ, READ, READ as many books as possible, I can never
empathize the importance of reading and learning for entrepreneurs be it from audio books,
traditional books, newspaper e.t.c just read and learn as much as possible, the ability to learn
constantly is one trait successful entrepreneurs have in common. In the world of business,
change is constant and with change comes either business Success or failure. For you to survive
in a world of constant change, you must constantly update your knowledge base and one of the
best ways to do this is by reading, as the saying goes “the more you learn the more you earn”.