Hey Vodacom, PLEASE Stop Dropping My Calls!

You know what I love about cell phones? You can use them to talk to other people. That’s kind of the whole point. OK, I know they’re also for surfing the web, navigating, and surprising women with pictures of your naughty bits (guys, here’s a helpful tip – no woman has EVER thought “Today’s been a good day. But you know what I could really go for right now? An unsolicited picture of Johnny’s wonder weasel”). But the MAIN reason most of us have cell phones is so we can pick one up, have it send magic signals into space, and then hear someone’s voice on the other end. Simple enough. Unless you deal with Vodacom in South Africa.

No matter where you go in South Africa, you’ll see Vodacom’s name splashed across buildings, sports teams, and infants. It would be more fitting to see their logo on giant, steaming piles of dog crap because that would give a better indication of their service.

Let me be clear about something: I hate talking on the phone. It’s not that I have phone anxiety or that I can’t hear properly or anything. It’s just that I genuinely, truly dislike people, and the less time I need to spend listening to someone I loathe talking about something I probably don’t care about the better. But when I HAVE to talk on the phone, I’d rather be able to get the conversation out of the way without the need to call back several times because the phone cuts out.

I’m serious here- Vodacom drops calls like a redheaded baby. I get it- we can’t expect great signal everywhere. But surely we can expect it SOMEWHERE. Anywhere. My phone will tell me it has full bars, but Vodacom will laugh in the face of logic and technology and find a way to disconnect me anyway. Often. I’m not talking about rural areas, either. I live in Pretoria, which isn’t exactly a tiny little farming community.

I guess Vodacom does make an effort sometimes, though. Because they’re so great at customer service, I’ve received the below SMS from Vodacom a few times:


No way will I ever be able to use ALL those 10 free minutes…

First, Vodacom, I appreciate you noticed that your network is full balls. And I appreciate you reaching out to me to offer me something in return for my frustration.

But seriously. Go screw yourself. You offer me ten minutes? The first nine minutes of each of my calls is usually just me saying “Hello? Can you hear me NOW?” So you’ve pretty much given me one minute.

And then you say it only counts if I call another Vodacom customer? You’ve gotta be kidding me. That’s a double whammy of dropped calls. I’d have a better chance of escaping unscathed after punching a lion in the dick than actually having an uninterrupted conversation on that call.

As a final eff you, you then tell me I have one day to use it, or else it expires. Seriously? This is your idea of customer service and some sort of an apology for having a network that’s worse at being a network than Donald Trump is at being a president? That’s like apologizing for farting in a crowded elevator by leaving a giant, steaming turd on the ground as soon as you get to your floor. You may feel better, but your audience definitely doesn’t.

You can take your offer, roll it around in hot sauce and razor blades, and jam it up your urethra.

So here’s an idea, Vodacom: take some of the millions of dollars you spend per second on advertising and invest even a FRACTION of it on figuring out how to do the one thing for which you exist. That suggestion’s free. But I have many more ideas for you, none of which would be appropriate for a family-friendly blog. Feel free to call me- but I can’t guarantee the call will go through. Cause you know, I use Vodacom.

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About the Author

I’ve been many things. A university English instructor, a picker upper of dead bodies, a musician, and a sales guy. My work brought me and my family from Vancouver, Canada to Pretoria, South Africa in September 2016, and I’m still wondering how that happened. I started this blog mostly because my friends back in Canada kept asking me how things were in South Africa, and posting about my experiences seemed more efficient than repeating myself hundreds of times. Maple and Marula is a way for me to make sense of my new surroundings as an expat who has no idea what I’m doing.

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  1. Hi Phil. So totally agree about chucking the darn thing under the closest truck…laptop could follow….
    but since out fiber installation that urge has diminished. MbpS speeds of 2 are not great for working on or receiving Skype calls from Canada. Now we are at 10….yay!!! Still slow for Canadian standards I know. But back in 2008 when we visited our son in Calgary my experience with Rogers ( Not sure of spelling) was horrific even by SA standards. MTN have a roaming agreement with them which was a total waste of money.
    Love Canada but what a pity the Sponsorship program is so behind in their paperwork. 3 years!!! Now if that was here I would understand. Enjoy all the good things we are able to offer. Its a great place when people can work and support themselves and there is no “sponsored” racial hatred.

    1. Wow, that’s surprising to hear about Rogers in Canada! That’s who I used in Vancouver, and I always had great signal and super fast speeds!

      There’s still no fibre available in my area here- it’s driving me crazy! And nobody seems to be able to give me an ETA either. I guess the good news is that I even HAVE internet!

  2. I have a friend who used to live on the top floor of Ponte City. You know, the tallest apartment building in Africa, which has a two-story-tall VODACOM advertisement flashing on the top? The one that lots of people call, “the Vodacom building”?

    A few months after moving into Ponte, said friend had to cancel his Vodacom contract and move to CellC because VODACOM HAS NO SIGNAL INSIDE THE VODACOM BUILDING.

    I still have Vodacom — I’ve had it for the entire seven years I’ve lived in SA — and I have no idea why. I think they put a spell over me.

    1. Hahahahahaha! That’s amazing- and speaks directly to my point- obnoxious advertising (the worst was when I wanted to buy a Blue Bulls jersey, but refused to spend money on a massive Vodacom logo front and center with a tiny Blue Bulls logo off to one side) and no cell service. I only had one dropped call today, so I’m feeling pretty lucky. Granted, I only made three calls, but still.

      I’m pretty sure cancelling your current contract and attempting to get another one would be more hassle than it’s worth. That’s how they getcha…

  3. Blue Bulls? Seriously? You clearly need more rugby advice than cell phone help… (Honestly, though, I feel your pain, having not had internet service for TWO WHOLE DAYS…)

    1. Haha- I had free tickets to a game, so I thought I might as well buy a Jersey. But nope- their jerseys are just big Vodacom ads. So ugly!

      Man- the whole “no internet” thing gets real old, real fast.

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