Pedaling Progress: The Impactful Story of Cloudy Deliveries

Author: Themba Kriger
Photos: Matthew Wareley

Born out of a desire for convenience, Cloudy Deliveries’ story started three years ago when its founder, Colin Mkosi, was a law student in the depths of his studies, craving something from the shops. “I thought it would be a great idea to be able to call someone to your house, give them a list of all the things that you want to get from the store, and then they go there and get it for you, and if they could use bicycles for efficiency.”

Using savings from his part-time job at Old Mutual, Colin launched the Langa-based delivery service in February 2020, with his team bringing everything from food and groceries to laundry and more to people’s homes all across the community on a fleet of 12 second-hand bicycles. 

These bikes, while a bargain, presented some initial challenges for Colin. “They were not in good condition, so they used to get damaged all the time. We were left with around three, but we were lucky enough to partner with an organization called Ikhaya Le Langa, who then gave us seven bicycles that were in good condition, and things started to pick up.”

To give his service consistent branding, Colin painted all his bikes white, which also sparked the idea for the company’s name. This consistent look helped get the word out about his business, as the residents of Langa would see his bikes zipping around the area with their deliveries. This paired with a solid social media presence, helped Cloudy Deliveries get off the ground and serve the community.

While currently, the company is still using its original system of first collecting money before picking up and returning the order, Colin and his team have developed a WhatsApp chatbot that, in the future, will accept both orders and payment, giving his customers the convenience of ordering via an app, without having to install a separate one just for his service.

As the uniform is a crucial part of marketing his business, Colin is excited about the new uniforms that ikeja has sponsored, saying, “It’s going to be cool. The uniforms will be denim, which will help with our branding because we have struggled to maintain our uniforms.”

The sponsorship of WiFi is also going to help Colin grow his business. “The Internet is costly these days, and sponsored Internet allows us to do a lot of things in the business: keep up to date with our social media, communicate with email, do research, and improve our skills within the business.”

Over the years, Colin and his team have overcome many challenges, such as gaining trust from the community when he was still operating a fleet of second-hand bicycles and didn’t have proper uniforms to transforming the dumping site that housed the shipping container from which he ran Cloudy Deliveries into a proper grounds for doing business complete with the internet.

Now in its third year of operation, Colin is proud of his business and the opportunities he’s helped create for his team. “Running a business is very, very difficult, and there are so many challenges that we currently face, but the fact that the business is still alive and going, I’m grateful for that. And we’ve impacted so many lives in the community of young people that I’m also proud of. I sometimes see these young guys; they’re much older now and have better jobs, and it’s always good to see that they continue with their life, and they’re improving and growing.”

The success of Cloudy Deliveries can be ascribed to Colin’s motto of making every day count. “I do not like the fact that, you know, a day would go by without doing nothing, so I try to make sure that I make each day count, whether I focus on my business or whether I focus on myself.”

This mindset also helps guide his attitude toward chasing his dreams, which he does relentlessly. “If I dream of anything, I go aggressively towards it. I’m not shy about chasing my dreams or being laid back. I’m aggressive in the way that I go about achieving my dreams. And I also encourage the guys I work with that if they think of something and want to achieve something, they should. The world always favors people who are doers. And if you’re not doing anything, the world won’t favor you.”

Looking to the future, Colin wants to expand Cloudy Deliveries to other communities and improve his service’s efficiency through electric scooters and his WhatsApp bot. “Probably next year, we are looking to tap into that, expand WhatsApp to other communities, and see how it would work.”
Having set the foundation for success in Langa, Colin will make it cloudy around Cape Town and beyond.