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The Profit That Comes From Gore And Grime

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It’s a business that people hardly knew existed 20 years ago. It is also not for the faint hearted. Some call it the business of death, but it is broader than that. Murders, suicides, and decompositions are just some of the scenes that Eileen de Jager and her sister, Roelien Schutte, attend to most days.

Their business, Crime Scene Clean Up, started 17 years ago, when Eileen and Roelien saw a need to start a business that would save people from the trauma of having to clean up crime scenes of their loved ones or friends.

“We discovered this idea after we saw one of our neighbors had to clean her daughter’s suicide scene. We decided we needed to do something to change this,” says Eileen.

When the sisters started out they used to travel to scenes around the country with a minibus equipped with everything, including a kitchen sink.

“The only thing we were short of was a shower,” Eileen chuckles.

Today, the business employs about 32 people and has nine branches across South Africa. The Blood Sisters, as they are popularly known, started the business with only practical experience. In a challenging and demanding field like this, the sisters felt a need to further their skills by studying. Roelien and Eileen’s husband, Francois, who is the CEO of Crime Scene Clean Up, went for waste management courses, while Eileen studied environmental health.

Studying further was important to grow the business.

“Having the knowledge and professional skills to do the job enabled us to understand this work better,” says Francois.

Crime Scene Clean Up Eileen and Francois de Jager

Eileen and Francois de Jager (Photo by Motlabana Monnakgotla)

They are the last to arrive at a crime scene. Eileen says they do their job so thoroughly it can be difficult for law enforcement officials to extract evidence afterwards.

Crime scenes vary in nature – some are more suited to a woman and others a man.

“Women are usually labeled as cleaners in a household, hence I never found it difficult to adapt, but sometimes there’s an emotional attachment that we sometimes leave behind,” says Eileen.

READ MORE: Nailed By Imposters

Before becoming entrepreneurs, Francois, Eileen and Roelien had nine-to-five jobs. Francois was a motor mechanic, while Eileen was a foreign exchange trader. Despite the blood and gore, Eileen says crime scene cleaning can be easier.

“What I am doing now is less stressful than what I used to do when I was in the corporate space,” says Eileen.

An ordinary day of work can border on the bizarre for these entrepreneurs. One day, Francois called Eileen while she was at a scene, wearing her mask and bloody gloves in the middle of a cleaning operation, to ask what she wanted to eat for supper.

“Can you imagine how ridiculous this is,” the couple say simultaneously, as they share a chuckle.

This profession is no laughing matter though. According to Eileen, cleaning a crime scene without professional help may lead to respiratory problems and post-traumatic stress.

“You must be compassionate and this field must be something that you want to do,” Eileen warns.

There is also bureaucracy to deal with. After fighting for years for their business to be recognized by the law in South Africa, the three say they still have to fight every year for their renewals.

“Like any other business in the country, there are fake ones that register for the same business and mess it up, making more problems for us with the government,” says Francois.

Eileen, Roelien and Francois aren’t just in this business to make millions, they’re also working hard to bring tranquility to a troubled period in someone’s life.

READ MORE: The High Price Of Addiction

This Woman Could Save Your Life

It’s a sunny August morning in Midrand, 30 kilometers north of Johannesburg. In a calm, yet busy, environment sits a crew responsible for despatching the emergency services that could save your life.

Nokonwaba Mgcoyi, a 35-year-old mother of two, has been working for the 10111 center – a 24-hour crime reporting call center – for more than 10 years. Today, she takes us through how the center operates.

The Gauteng regional centre, where Mgcoyi works, is South Africa’s largest. It caters for the 12 million people that live in the Gauteng province.

It’s a faceless profession, which some have seen as non-functional for decades. Though it is not listed under essential services, it is crucial for the public.

“10111 has become part of my life as I spend 80% of my time serving the public through the center,” says Mgcoyi.

Women are sometimes perceived to be vulnerable and incapable of handling pressure, but Mgcoyi seems to be calm and confident while on duty.

Mgcoyi deals with trauma on a daily basis, including domestic violence, accidents, murders, robberies and gang violence. The call center’s agents, like Mgcoyi, deal with up to 200 phone calls a weeknight and as many as 10,000 on a weekend night.

Although the public constantly complains about the effectiveness of the 10111 center, Mgcoyi says they work very hard in a challenging job.

“For us it takes up to 10 minutes to take a call and despatch a van. What happens after that is up to the police,” she says.

“10111 has two divisions, the call center that answers the calls, and the despatching department that despatches the vans according to the location of the emergency.”

READ MORE: The Criminal World Of Dog Eat Dog

A lack of resources can make a difficult job even tougher.

“A shortage of vans in police stations is one of the major problems that we face,” she says.

Hard decisions also have to be taken. Mgcoyi has to prioritize emergencies according to their importance.

“We categorize the emergencies from alpha complaints, which are known as priority number one, down to the least threatening situations. This helps in ensuring that high priority crimes are given preference.”

In South Africa, where a high crime rate is the norm, and the roads are perilously dangerous, the service that people like Mgcoyi offer is vital.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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