Alumni show support for Solidarity Fund


Two Mandela University alumni and service providers to our University, James Pearce and Charles Stretch, who run SMSPortal have pledged R100 000 to the Solidarity Response Fund, providing funds to the most vulnerable in this dire circumstance.

Charles, left, is also the son of the late Dr Richard Stretch who was Director of the university’s Sport Bureau for a number of years.

SMSPortal, is the brainchild of these two entrepreneurs, James, a BSc Computer Science graduate, and Charles a BCom graduate, and was started in 2002 in the garage of a PE home. 

The pair started the business while still studying, with R20 000 in start-up capital, after owning a youth site called Blueworld, which gave students the opportunity to post photographs of themselves and their friends partying at clubs in Port Elizabeth. 

When club owners approached the pair about coming up with a way they could communicate with the youngsters to market gigs and events, they came up with a bulk SMS product – and SMSPortal was born. 

The bulk sms service provider serves as a marketing tool for business owners, and has grown to a R700 million business today.

The market leader in its sector, the company has a global footprint, with just about every major blue chip financial and retail institution as clients, including Anglo American, Pick ‘n Pay, Toyota and Sanlam.  They are now also a 30% Black Female owned business.

In 2013, James and Charles received the prestigious Alumni Rising Star Award from the University in recognition of their outstanding entrepreneurial work. 

This is not the first time that SMSPortal have stepped in during crisis times, in 2016, during Fees Must Fall, they donated half a million SMS’s to the University to assist with communicating to students.

Those interested in donating to the fund can find their details at