The arrival of INSTACASH, a new mobile money service provider in Eswatini, came as a breath of fresh air to consumers who are always looking at a variety of products and services.

It is the country’s third and newest Mobile Money Operator (MMO); the other two are MoMo (operated by MTN Eswatini) and eMali (operated by Eswatini Mobile).

Essentially, INSTACASH is a mobile money service that enables customers to use the most basic cellular network connection (2G) to conduct several transactions, inclusive of sending and receiving money to and from anywhere in eSwatini, buying airtime for any mobile network, making payments for utility and other scheduled bills, making point of sale payments for goods and/or services at various merchants throughout the country, making limited savings, accessing micro-loans, disbursing multiple payments to several recipients at a go; and for payment checkout for various value-added services.

The INSTACASH product went live in 2021 where it underwent a compulsory pilot phase as part of regulatory requirements. Following the passing of its Go-Live assessment and a comprehensive system audit, it was licensed to fully operate in February 2022.

What started as a small product with scanty prospects of making it to an already dominated market has today become a force to be reckoned with, available in every corner of the Kingdom of eSwatini, from Mbabane to Bhunya, Motjane, Nkhaba, Ngwenya, KaNcesi, Buhleni, Ndzingeni, Madlangempisi, Tshaneni, Dvokolwako, Crydon, Mliba, Nyakeni, Matsapha, Bhunya, Luyengo, Lobamba, Nhlangano, Hlathikhulu, Ludzeludze, Kwaluseni, Mankayane, and Mpaka.

In the words of INSTACASH Managing Director Mandla “Cheeks” Nxumalo:

“We will cover every blade of grass, every community, and every place in Eswatini until we become a mobile Commerce platform of choice.”

Indeed, the INSTACASH team has been to every corner of the country, using football to connect with communities across all regions. They have been featured in every media house you can think of and have partnered with schools, government, civil society, football fraternity, media, charity organizations, and rural communities. We have seen them touch lives through soccer tournaments that have unearthed talent in far-flung areas, crime prevention activations in their fight for a crime-free society, marathons and fun days, festive pads drive to donate pads to needy women, and community business summit in an endeavour to help the youth build financially sustainable businesses.

They have partnered with the music industry, street vendors, and market traders; they have joined the campaign for cyber security awareness. We have seen them donate a cow and other items to the country’s largest trade union – SNAT; and we have seen them donate soccer kits and more items to community football clubs. The least is endless. And all have been done in a short space of time.

Of course, behind every successful initiative is a great leader. In this case, the face of INSTACASH is Mandla “Cheeks” Nxumalo, who is its Managing Director. Through his corporate leadership prowess, the company has achieved tremendous growth within a short space of time. What makes it an even greater story is the fact that INSTACASH is owned by Directcore Technologies Swaziland (Pty) Ltd, a 100-percent Swazi-owned Company. Mbuso Simelane is its Chairman.

At The Bridge, we decided to focus on the MD as someone who has done well in steering the ship in the right direction, inspiring other Swazi professionals to work hard. Nxumalo is relatively young, having turned 40 in 2023; this must serve to inspire other young professionals. Nxumalo has demonstrated amazing leadership skills, pulling together and building what seems to be a highly motivated team to deliver beautiful results.

When The Bridge interviewed INSTACASH staff and visited some of its service centres, the staff spoke highly of their boss, acknowledging his leadership for the efforts they put in daily.

“Cheeks is such a thoughtful and considerate person; he never makes you feel less of a person simply because you are junior, He is respectful and always jolly – he makes the working environment feel like home, and in that way, we all stay motivated and we never want to disappoint him. He is also compassionate. That is why we work hard,” said a staff member at the INSTACASH head office in Mbabane.

It is that time of the year when The Bridge Editors fight with each other and make compelling arguments about who should be The Bridge Person of the Year. This time around there was no fight, we all agreed that INSTACASH MD Mandla “Cheeks” Nxumalo has done well in 2023 to deserve The Bridge Person of the Year Award. He is a pioneer, leader, trailblazing intellectual, hard worker, and great-spirited professional who is such an inspiration to our youth. Ladies and gentlemen, on your feet, hands together – join your favourite publication as we congratulate Mandla “Cheeks” Nxumalo on being named The Bridge Person of the Year!