Fairphone Community in South Africa

Hi everyone
My name is Wendy Lewin and I live in Cape Town, South Africa. I see that I am meant to introduce myself, but I am not sure if this is where I do it, or whether I need to make a different post to do that. So, a little intro:

At my very best, I am a creative “grassroots” pioneer who gets nerdy and intense around the intersections of theology, justice, sociology, psychology, anthropology, ecology and how we can create better communities of mutual flourishing and belonging. At my worst, I am overwhelmed, paralysed by the complexity of the inequality and injustice in our world and so often save things for another day when it feels less overwhelming!

So, I am now trying to overcome my worst self a year after I first started looking into Fairphones in South Africa!! Our situation here is that many people I know would love to know that their tech is not coming at the price of other people’s lives and welfare. The biggest stumbling block (as far as I can see) is that South Africans usually buy phones on contract (including the device and data/airtime plans) because to buy in a once-off lumpsum is just seriously expensive. Having thought for a while how I might start an advocacy movement to get our cellphone/network providers to include the Fairphone as one of their options, I have decided to start smaller and simpler and hopefully see something come from this.

My idea is to start a “buying club” (if you are South African: a “stokvel”), where a group of people put money into a shared account over time and, when one person needs a new phone, we use the money available in the account to get a phone for that person. That person might have only been paying in for a short while and therefore will continue paying in until the cost of their phone has been covered, but it means that we are making it possible for people to save together and buy together so that slowly we can get more and more Fairphones into the hands of South Africans. I am starting with my family and my work-colleagues, but I am hoping to build it in such a way that it could be expanded and/or replicated over time.

What I would love to know from this community:

  1. Has anyone tried this before and can you give me any pointers for what to plan for and what to avoid?
  2. Is there anyone else in South Africa on this forum who would love to get together and dream with me (I am in Cape Town - Plumstead, so be exact)?
  3. I would love to have some spare parts available so that we don’t have to send off to Europe each time someone needs something (convenience seems to be everything nowadays!) - can anyone advise me on which components and how many of which I should keep in “stock” for between 20 - 30 Fairphoners (my family is quite enamoured with the term “Fairies” at the moment!)
  4. Any thoughts you had when reading this that might help me would be greatly appreciated!

All the best


Cool initiative! I greatly encourage your efforts!

You should look into becoming a Fairphone Angel. This will let you join a group of community pioneers like you, who are dedicated to spread the Fairphone movement in their local area. Besides you will get your own @fairphone.community email address and the network will facilitate contact to Fairphone officials. Here is more information:

Also you should look through these topics: https://forum.fairphone.com/search?q=south%20africa

PS.: For now, I’m removing the word “heaven” from the title of this topic because it is reserved for Fairphone Angels. Heaven is the area/city where Angels live in (e.g. there is one Angel in the Berlin Heaven).


I really love your initiative as well.
Regarding your first question, I have not heard of anyone who did this, though it really seems to be a great idea. Have you checked, that the bands supported by the FP3 are good for South Africa? You will find the supported bands in the Tech Specs under Network
As you are aiming at the Fairphone 3, there will be hardly an answer to your third question right now, as this model is being shipped right now and no long-term experience is available.
Hopefully, the demand for spare parts will be low.
Maybe you could order spare parts later, when the first failures occure. You could base that later order on your own experience as well as on the forum threads and messages. If there really happens to be some faulty parts, you then can order more informed not wasting money on stock, that will never be needed.
Though one spare part will always be needed: the display module. Accidents happen and glas does break, even gorilla-glas. I broke 2 displays of my FP2 for example and one of my FP1; so I would guess one spare display for every second phone would be a good guess (not everyone is as clumsy as me. :wink: )
You are aware, that FP does not deliver outside of Europe and you will have to buy from a reseller, I guess. You find a (maybe incomplete) list of resellers in this thread:

You will have to check, which one might deliver to South-Africa.

Getting batteries for spare parts might turn out a bit tricky, as they are considered hazardous and only few will send them abroad, let alone larger numbers. (Batteries inside phones are no problem.) That’s something, you might want to check beforehand, so your phone’s life will not be limited by that of the battery.
I have once done some research for even just sending batteries cross country in Europe:

I am wishing you lots of luck and success with your task.


Hi Wendy!

I love the idea. I"m in SA too and I do frequent CPT.
I’d be super keen to be a part of any local initiaives :slight_smile: