What with everything that has been going on in South Africa these last few weeks – Uyinene and Meghan are just two names on a long list of tragedies – safety is forefront on our minds in this country.

Of course we have been living in this state for a while, but recent events seem to have ignited something in us more than before. I’ve found myself profoundly affected by these last few weeks and I’m much more aware of my personal safety.

Because of this, I’ve found three apps which can be useful to have. I’m not suggesting you have all three but choosing one or two can hopefully give you a bit of control back, and peace of mind that you know what to do if you ever need help.


Namola is a free safety app. With it you can call for assistance with one click. An operator will call you back immediately, confirm the emergency and send the appropriate help. There is also a tracking function so you can share your location with whoever you choose.

If you’d prefer, you can also buy a handheld Namola Panic Tracker which works in the same way. While the app is free the Panic Tracker is R2 499, including a twelve month subscription.

How is this helpful?

You can quickly and easily call emergency services when you need it and they will know exactly where you are, and it’s useful as a location-sharing device.


What3words is another useful free app. Some smart people assigned every 3m square in the world (!) with its own unique 3 word location identifier. What3words acts a GPS co-ordinates but is obviously much simpler.

For example, the 3words for one of my favourite wine bars in Cape Town (Publik) is costly.skinheads.offhand. There is nowhere else on earth that has this same 3words address.

How is this helpful?

People can find you or a location with 100% accuracy. If you open the app you can find the 3words address for wherever you are and share it or you can look up a 3words address to find a specific location.


Life360 is a free app with optional paid memberships. It is a free location sharing device, so you can add contacts to your Circle and they will be able to track your whereabouts in real-time or see your recent history. You can also receive notifications for when contacts arrive at chosen destinations.

How is this helpful?

This is a great app for family members to keep in touch so you know where everyone is without having to message all the time.

Have you used any of these apps? How do you keep yourself safe?

Featured image:  Saulo Mohana on Unsplash

the Bird and the Beard