• Ronnie Apteker


Updated: Jan 12, 2021

When you hear people talk about their travels then cities like Paris, London, New York, Berlin, San Francisco are often the destinations of choice. But mention places like Johannesburg and Kyiv and most won’t know what you are on about. And of course the countries they represent, South Africa and Ukraine. These two lands are not well understood and typically illicit odd reactions. Here is an example:

Where you from?

South Africa.

Which country in south Africa?

The country is called South Africa.

Then if you push it a bit and try and say “I am from South Africa from the city of Johannesburg” with a strong accent you sometimes get “Oh, where the spaceship landed”. District 9 was a hit all over the world. Yes, that is where the alien craft touched down. Ask a Liverpool football club fan about Kyiv (or Kiev as it is written using the Russian version) and they will know about that upsetting loss in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final, against Real Madrid, which tool place in Ukraine’s capital city.

When it comes to Ukraine the remarks are just as colourful. Here is an example:

Where are you flying to?

I am going to Kyiv in Ukraine.

Oh, you like Russia.

Not Russia, Ukraine.

What’s the difference?

Yeah, you get this a lot. When it comes to these two misunderstood nations there is a lot people don’t now. This tale of ours is about these two big, bustling cities, and the work that is taking place in the software domain.

To start off, when it comes to IT, the language that is spoken between South Africans and Ukrainians is English. To South Africans in business, this is their native tongue, and to Ukrainians in the IT world, just about everyone you meet speaks English. Then, throw in that the two countries are on the same line of longitude and the time zone challenge falls away. Also, to fly between the two cities is pretty simple (before the corona hit), and visas are easy to get.

Both these lands suffer from negative stereotyping with the sad reality that South Africa is known mostly for violence and Ukraine for corruption. These two beautiful countries need to work on their image and the conversations need to change. If you visit either of these countries you will have a very different perspective, a good one for sure.

What do you probably don’t know is that Johannesburg is the most modern city on the African continent and is home to some serious corporations. Johannesburg was originally a mining town. Yes, South Africa is one of the world’s biggest gold and diamond producers. And Ukraine has developed into the software development hub of Europe, coming in second after India for software outsourcing.

PYGIO is facilitating the flow of software development work from South Africa (and other places) to Ukraine.


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