In just a year and a half since it launched, Vox Weather has grown to 100,000 dedicated followers and a reach of close to two million people on average per month, validating Vox’s belief that there was a glaring gap in South Africa for a dynamic, insights- and technology-driven weather platform.
Poised for more growth and partnerships, Vox Weather has welcomed an intern to learn from renowned meteorologist and weather presenter Annette Botha. Michelle Cordier is sure to play a pivotal role in the expected rapid growth of the platform.
“It is exciting to think that in such a short time we have hit the 100,000 follower mark across the board. These are loyal followers who log in and engage with the content because they trust us and see us as a reliable source. We are averaging more than 4,000 new followers every month and the reach is outstanding,” says Botha.
Vivica CEO Jacques du Toit, who announced the launch of Vox Weather in the second half of 2021, says that now that the country has seen what a holistic platform can deliver, over and above static weather forecasts, he expects Vox Weather to play an increasingly important role in people’s lives.
“As the country grapples with severe flooding, it is evident to many people that weather is about far more than whether it will rain today or not. And so, as we push ahead with Vox Weather, we seek to continue driving credible climate awareness and activism among South Africans generally, and the youth specifically.
“When we started out, it was important to have a qualified meteorologist present forecasts, not only to ensure Vox Weather was credible but also to inspire young people to pursue a career in the STEM subjects. With this in mind, we are excited to witness how the intern Michelle blossoms and grows under the mentorship of Annette, proving that there are meteorology career paths for young people, as well as the chance to drive climate activism. Because the platform is powered through social media, it gives the team the ability to listen to its audience, which has resulted in exciting opportunities and no doubt will lead to many more,” says Du Toit.
“In the agricultural sector, this is very important, because you don’t get something more personal than someone’s livelihood. This is a sensitive sector and you don’t want to tell farmers when it is time to plant and when they should cultivate. Rather, you want to provide a bigger and fuller picture that empowers them with information to support their decision-making, and this is how our partnership with Laeveld Agrochem started – to do a weather forecast specifically for the agricultural sector. This is the first-ever agriculture-specific weather forecast in South Africa, and besides all the positive feedback from all stakeholders, the farmers are happy and that’s what counts the most.”
Botha says that following the successful partnership with Laeveld Agrochem and the rapidly growing reach of the platform, many organisations contact Vox Weather to discuss potential projects and broader climate activism. “This is important to us, as one of our initial goals was to become a credible source of weather information. In 18 months, we have gone from an idea to the voice of weather in South Africa, and we are humbled by the support,” she says.
Botha adds that as part of Vox Weather’s mission to inspire young people to pursue STEM careers, they wanted to show young people that these careers didn’t need to be in researching academic papers, but could instead be fun, vibey and in touch with people, while still, 100% anchored in science.
“This is why we held our open day. Naturally, I could see that we were on a growth trajectory and would need a more hands-on deck. However, in addition to this, we wanted to show young people that platforms such as Vox Weather provide real career opportunities,” she says.
Cordier presented at the open day, and Botha says that the effort, research and passion that went into her presentation immediately resonated with the team. “She put in so much work, her presentation was genuinely insightful and she was honest and positive. I am excited to see her stretch herself, grow and develop her own personal brand of weather forecasting and presenting.”
Cordier says that her passion for the weather was ignited by a Geography teacher at school, and stuck with her all the way through her honours degree at the University of Pretoria. “However, during Covid, we learnt that the SA Weather Service would not be doing a forecasting course the following year. Naturally, I was heartbroken and thought my career wouldn’t happen. It’s at this time that I heard about Vox Weather and the opportunity to present ideas, and as they say, the rest is history.
“I am incredibly honoured to be part of the Vox Weather team and as we grow from strength to strength. I look forward to playing my part in bringing the voice of the weather to the people of South Africa.”