From relatively young, Craven Coetzee had an affinity for computers, programming and a general interest in attempting to understand how systems work together.
He received his first “computer” on or about 1980 in the form of an Atari membrane keyboard that clipped over the Atari gaming console. It had a mere 2k of volatile RAM and no storage. It is here that he wrote his first lines of BASIC (programming language) code.
A few years later, he programmed in BASIC on a ZX-81, then later, a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K when he (rather forcefully) took the device over from his brother, Quinton.
His adoption of computers and interest in them could best be described as an addiction. In about 1986 or so, he was given his first IBM PC clone and has owned, worked on a computer in some form or the other since then.
He was always pretty adept at problem-solving with programming, participating in and obtaining silver and gold certificates for various MENSA-style problem-solving “Computer Olympiads” during his school career.
During his early programming career, he dabbled in assembler language – both on the ZX Spectrum and early 8088 (x386) processors, in BASIC, then Pascal, C, later moving on to business DBASE relational programming using Clipper, FoxPro and later dabbled in a product called “Clarion”.
He developed several systems while at school as a teenager for the odd business to automate / manage certain tasks – eg. a quoting system for a furniture store and a ice-cream cart management & tracking system. These were written in the database management system, Clipper based on the dBase III programming language.
After matriculating, he continued with his relational database programming business (that he started at school on or about 1988), Kondura Software Development.
One of his clients, Mr John Cupido Snr. or Orderite (Pty) Ltd. T/A Cupidolls did quite a bit of experimentation with computers with a view to commission him to write an entire POS system from scratch in using the SCO Unix V Operating System and the “C” language. He also ran Novell at his retail store in East London and it was eventually decided to write the product in Clipper, then later Clarion. It was a complex system that was modified and improved several times over a two year period.
He developed the full retail Point of Sale, loyalty rewards and retail system for the national perfume manufacturer, distributor and retailer (as well as clothing retailer)
He briefly worked for a company called DigiPoint in East London and wrote a meal-booking system for many universities in the region with intention of selling nationally. However, a dispute arose and he left the company when the software proved to be a success and the directors decided that they wanted a larger portion of the profits (all of it) in contrast to what was intimated on joining the company.
ICT CONSULTANT / SYSTEMS ANALYST
His ICT consulting career started in the from the early 90’s as he became more focused on network and IT consulting, but still continued programming. He regularly gave education talks for the “Border Computer society”, a group of IT enthusiasts in the Eastern Cape Region.
At one time, he was planning on emigrating to the US, and took two trips – one in 1994 and one in 1995 – both were working and exploration holidays – one to attempt to sell a program he wrote, and one where he also assisted as a salesperson on a contract basis.
Shortly after returning from the US, he moved to Port Elizabeth and very briefly worked for a one of the leading SME IT support companies, Compustat (Pty) Ltd, but as the company changed hands, he started his own ICT Consulting firm, Kondura Technologies CC, servicing mostly attorneys, but not exclusively.
At Compustat, he was a senior support/network engineer and account manager to Contread (training academy linked directly to Good Year), Cadbury’s and other well-known corporates that were part of Compustat’s customer-base.
He supported many other business sectors including manufacturing, retail, finance and other service-related businesses. He was one of the few local IT consultants that supported Novell prior to businesses adopting the Microsoft ecosystem.
He continued writing a few computer application solutions for attorneys to assist with the Y2K problem, but discontinued programming shortly after 2000 as his focus was on ICT consulting and programming was just too time-consuming and less people-focussed.
logo of an app written by Craven Coetzee
to assist with Attorney “File-Aways” – document storage database
His role at Kondura Technologies was very much “hands on” driving new business, managing his team of technicians, accounts and sales, as well as consulting with clients, assisting them, their third party contractors. He fulfilled many roles including, but not limited too: Business Manager, Brand Developer, Systems Analyst, Business Administrator (stock, accounts, debtors, creditors), network technician, (1st, 2nd, 3rd line support tech levels, from simple issues to trouble-shooting, support, configuration, design, to implementation), Project Manager, ICT consultant, PR manager and Sales Manager.
He amends the popular axiom to his own version by saying: “I’m a Jack of all trades and a master of some.”
His clients ranged in size from residential customers, to work-from home businesses with the majority of businesses he supported having over 20 employees, with some having as many as 300 employees. In addition, his company worked for local as well as national customers, also acted as sub-contractors to many other local and national IT companies.
He offered full managed ICT services, offering complete, comprehensive “turn-key” solutions, project management for extensive IT and business infrastructure design, file and mail server installations, configuration, support and cabling to even consulting as a forensic analyst, evidence gatherer and expert witness on several legal cases.
He offered consulting expertise on every aspect of IT including assisting his customers with social media and marketing guidance, acting as an IT “translator” and mediator with 3rd party IT contractors. Kondura Technologies was often referred to as the best Small, Micro, Medium, Enterprise (SMME) IT consulting and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) support company in Port Elizabeth.
Ongoing political issues (imminent land-grab policies and the destructive BB-BBE policy) in South Africa caused him to eventually sell everything, pack bags and leave South Africa! He sold his business in January 2018 and after spending several months assisting with the hand-over to Claude Botha of Jocote Technologies, selling his property, he began the process of preparing for emigration and arrived in New Zealand on January 23rd, 2019.
He was offered a position at All Over IT limited March 29th, 2019 and initiated his employment for the company as an ICT consultant / Systems Analyst, but ended up doing mostly “mobile tech support” as the business was quite micro-managed resulting in him just focusing on tech services. It was a THREE YEAR wait for residency, Finally, in 2022, he got it and resigned a few days later. Originally intending on spending a year as a consultant.
update/25 Feb 2022: except for meeting some lovely people as customers along the way, simply has to be said “Wow, so happy to be free and on my own again, finally. Never again.” #alloverit #overit !!!
update/7 March 2022: IT NEAR U LIMITED was launched. IT near U, the IT Computer Service Company near you in the Greater Wellington Region including Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast.
“New Zealand is paradise. The people are wonderful and kind. We walk and hike (tramp) regularly without any fear. We can finally have a good night’s sleep in peace.”