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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | August 19, 2017

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Seriously candid camera…

Seriously candid camera…
Inside Source
  • On September 26, 2014

Having been absent from these august pages [“this screen”, actually – ed] for some time due to those dreaded “work commitments” I thought I should return with a bang, and a remarkable tale I heard on a recent trip to that flourishing sourcing hot spot, South Africa.

The outsourcing scene in the Rainbow Nation is a fairly vibrant one, with a strong voice heritage now being augmented by solid growth in non-voice BPO and an increasing quantity of ITO. This means, of course, plenty of comparatively new jobs, attracting a lot of dedicated young talent, and many of those filling seats in service centres across the country weren’t even twinkles in their daddies’ eyes at the end of apartheid and can be seen in many senses to embody much of what the new South Africa likes to see itself as being: dynamic, hard-working, and colourblind.

Putting lots of young people together in enclosed environments however often creates a very different dynamic from the professional one – young love will, of course, bloom in even the most challenging of soils, let alone the fertile loam of a shared service centre  – and by all accounts the BPO industry is doing wonders for the country’s population as well as its GDP…

One couple who could stand as the poster children for this sharing of services came to my attention via the wryly amused tones of my host for my recent trip, the boss of a not-unknown SA-based BPO provider. Apparently this daring duo had met and fallen head over heels in lust in a centre owned by one of his competitors, and had taken to spending their breaktimes making sweet sweet music together in the oh-so-romantic environs of his car. One day, however, said vehicle was taken in for repairs – yet rather than miss a tryst the couple decided to throw extra thrills into the mix by consummating their passions on-site, in that most stereotypical of lovers’ bowers: the store cupboard…

It was perhaps inevitable that they should be discovered in flagrante. Less predictable, however, is what happened next: their discoverer took several pictures of them on his phone mid-act and proceeded to attempt to blackmail them (perhaps I should have mentioned that the Romeo of the piece is – was? – a married man, and his lover engaged to another fella altogether…). This proved a mistake and an act of aggression took place which brought security running, resulting eventually in three dismissals – and, amusingly, a ban on personal mobile phones in the centre to prevent a recurrence, not of the act itself, but of the blackmail which followed!

Don’t forget: you can send me any juicy industry gossip at

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