Exclusive: Meet the CEO and Founder of Even Playground, Malwandla Hlekane.


 admin  February 28, 2023 4 min read 

In an exclusive interview, Malwandle told us more about his extraordinary beginnings and how Even Playground is currently having an effect on the South African sports industry. 

Just a background on your business, what kind of sector do you focus on? What’s the name and where do you operate from?

“Did you know that less than 20% of athletes in South Africa can account for
playing history or performance? To take a step further, even less athletes know
that obtaining such is possible. Did you know South Africa has one of the highest
talent export rates?
Imagine a system that could record your matches and provide you with a player
performance stance. Imagine your school or club releasing a termly report along
with your academics for you to use in any scholarship application?
Look, no further, as that is exactly what Even Playground is designed to do. Over
the years we have been working on a unique system that can offer this solution
and we have finally completed it.
As the owner of Even Playground and sister company Connect The Dots Africa,
my core work is working with athletes, sports teams, and sports organisations
to promote their brand and products to a wider audience through social media,
TV and radio broadcasts, and other forms of media. The business may also
specialise in creating engaging and entertaining content related to sports, such
as highlight reels, interviews with athletes and coaches, and behind-the-scenes
This content can be used to build a loyal following and increase engagement with
fans. To succeed in this industry, the business will need to stay up-to-date with
the latest trends and developments in sports media and marketing, as well as
have a deep understanding of the target audience. They will also need to have
strong networking and communication skills to build relationships with
With my experience as a coach and current relationships in the industry I have
been able to champion this exciting project.

What kind of an impact do you hope your company will have in South Africa?

  “Even Playground has begun disrupting and changing how schools and clubs are
positioning themselves.
Promoting healthy living: As athletes, Even Playground can lead by example by
promoting a healthy lifestyle through the use of the platform. This can
encourage users to exercise regularly, eat healthily, and avoid harmful
substances like drugs and alcohol.

Giving back to the community: Even Playground will use our platform to give
back to the community by supporting local charities, organising fundraisers, and
Inspiring the next generation: By being an accessible and functioning tool, Even
Playground can inspire the next generation to pursue their dreams and work
hard to achieve them. They can also help develop young talent by monitoring
aspiring athletes.
Fostering unity and inclusivity: Sports have the power to bring people from all
walks of life together. Even Playground can use its platform to promote unity and
inclusivity by supporting diversity initiatives, standing up against discrimination,
and advocating for equal opportunities for all.”

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a business owner?

 “The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome is figuring out which tools to use in
my business that will help me monitor progress and further how one gears up a
business to be investor ready. As soon as these tools were unpacked the
business trajectory changed and the results followed. What isn’t measured, can’t
be improved.
A lot of the time I would move and operate with force, hoping that the strongest
would win. I have come to understand that in most of the critical moments, one
needs to opt for precision over power.”

What aspect of being a business owner do you enjoy the most?

 “Being a business owner is challenging but rewarding. What I enjoy the most is
the chase to an eventual whilst navigating an ever-changing landscape. Being a
business owner has forced me to read more which sparked another element I fell
in love with. I now yearn for knowledge that can give me the edge. My soul is
set a light when I know I have found a way to win beyond the current business

What do you believe would help your company reach its goals the quickest?

“Capital Expenditure is the single thing we need at the moment as that directly
affects our ability to increase capacity to onboard consumers. The positive
position is that we currently have off-takes to scale to the desired level but it’s
finding the right partner to scale with.

Our vision which is, driving the evolution of the sports industry by championing
diversity, creativity, and uncompromising quality in all our collaborations. This
way Even Playground can possess key influence to drive evolution of the sports

What advice would you give to someone who would like to start their own business?

“My business strategy is simple. 1 + 1 = Fun.
The first one, identify a problem that you can solve: Before you start a business,
you need to identify a problem that you can solve. Think about the skills and
knowledge you have and what problems you can solve with them.
The second one, be prepared to adapt it to get your first rand: Starting a
business is not easy, and there will be challenges along the way. Be prepared to
adapt and change your strategy as needed to meet the needs of your customers
and stay ahead of the competition. If you can make 1 rand, you can make a
Together, they can make business fun but starting a business takes hard work,
dedication, and perseverance. With the right mindset and a solid plan, you can
turn your dreams into a successful reality.”

This was such an eye opening Exclusive with Malwandla Hlekane, if you would like to find out more about Malwandla and get in contact with him – https://www.linkedin.com/in/malwandlahlekane?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base_contact_details%3B9%2BDvfr9HSQ%2B5iP9q%2FhB8Pw%3D%3D Or Visit his Website – http://www.malwandlahlekane.co.za/

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