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Mike Luptak Of Dlala Nje On Recasting Business Roles

When he decided to start Dlala Nje, Mike Luptak was venturing far outside his comfort zone. Now he is encouraging other companies to do the same thing, uncovering a goldmine of untapped potential in the process.

GG van Rooyen




Vital Stats

  • Player: Michal Luptak
  • Company: Dlala Nje
  • Established: 2012
  • Contact: 

A few years ago, Michal ‘Loopy’ Luptak was working at one of the most prestigious accounting firms in the country. He was young and driven, but he was struggling to invest fully in his chosen career. It just didn’t feel right.

So, Luptak made the brave decision to change his life. He moved into Ponte Tower and started offering tours of the infamous building and the surrounding Hillbrow area.

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The tour business has been running for almost three years now, and Dlala Nje recently started offering a new kind of tour — one that aims to assist companies in addressing issues within their organisational cultures.

What do you offer companies?

Simply put, we assist companies to alter the entrenched roles and beliefs that so often exist within large organisations.

We’ve assisted Nando’s, for example, in initiating people into the company culture — giving overseas members of the company insight into South Africa and what life is like here.

And how do you do this?

We provide what we call an ‘immersive experience’. We strip a group of company representatives of all their possessions, give them a small amount of money, and send them into the city.

They are then given a list of tasks that they need to complete. For example, they will be dropped off at Bree Street with R9 each, and told to get to Yeoville.

What is the aim of this?


The aim is to take a group of people out of their comfort zones and recast them in different roles. For instance, the MD or CEO of a large company might have no idea how to catch a taxi from Bree Street to Yeoville, but a cleaner or receptionist might know exactly how to do it, since they have to do it daily just to get to work.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How Michal ‘Loopy’ Luptak Turned a Dangerous Retail Space into a Surprising Place

What do participants take away from the experience?

Hopefully, they realise that roles within a company are too tightly defined. Many companies have wonderful resources that they never tap into.

Not only does this sort of experience allow employees to engage on a very different level, but it also reveals those individuals with great potential that isn’t being tapped.

When I worked as an accountant, I wasn’t happy. I’m a people person — I need to interact with people — but my job wasn’t allowing me to do that. I wasn’t given a client-facing role at all.

I just sat behind my desk and worked. Had I been allowed to fulfil a role that was better aligned with my personality and interests, I might not have left that job.

Companies need to make sure that the right people are in the right roles. You could have a wonderful employee with loads of potential who’s not performing for the sole reason that he or she isn’t in the right position. Put people in the right role, and they flourish.

How does the experience change the views of management?

Apart from the above, those in management roles tend to gain a greater understanding of the difficulties that employees have to deal with daily. Many people are ignorant about how public transport works in South Africa. This kind of experience offers some much-needed insight.

It is a humbling experience, spending some time in an area such as Hillbrow. Seeing what people have to go through really fosters compassion.

How does a tour change the employer/employee relationship?


Employees feel much more appreciated after this kind of experience. They feel more like a complete person in the eyes of the employer.

It’s an important lesson for companies: If you truly invest in the lives of employees, you won’t lose them. Employees care about more than money — they want to work for a company that cares about them.

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What are your goals for the future?

We would like to go much larger with the concept. Ideally, Dlala Nje would like to sign up volunteers from all over the world and have them work in Africa.

Volunteer work is important, both for employees and employers.

Young people who are preparing to enter the job market can gain some useful life experience through volunteer work. Prospective employers, meanwhile, can benefit by employing young people who have willingly volunteered for a good cause.

Employing someone who has done volunteer work in a difficult environment is rarely a bad idea.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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