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Mxit story reveals power of mobile born in SA

Alan Knott-Craig Jr, mobile entrepreneur, author, and Mxit’s new CEO, together with co-author, award-winning journalist, Gus Silber, launched their book, Mobinomics: Mxit and the Mobile Revolution in Africa at a read and review on the 19th June, at the Book Lounge in Cape Town.

Mobinomics tells the story of the people behind the Mxit phenomenon, and the potential for change that mobile phones have brought to Africa. The book also promotes literacy and reading among Mxit’s majority youth audience.

Mxit was intended to be a mobile game, but because of high cost messaging and the fact that GPRS had not yet been implemented, it proved limiting. Then the concept of Mxit was born. Simply put, it allows users to send and receive one-on-one text and multimedia messages to and from other users.

What makes it so special? Well, according to Knott-Craig, “Mxit has its own infra-structure, where different languages and lifestyles exist.”

Mxit’s aim is to encourage youth development, thus allowing initiatives to form within the company, including a mathematics project called “Doctor Math”, which offers online maths tutoring. Mxit also aims to provide more books to users in the near future, creating an online library across the African continent.

According to Silber, “Mxit targets an entire different demographic than Facebook and Twitter. Mxit is a real-time interactive interface that eliminates costs.”

Knott-Craig revealed that “Mxit’s audience communicates 700-850 million messages daily,” (Twitter receives 400 million messages a day!). The consultancy World Wide Worx did a case study and their findings shows that MXit currently has about 10 million active subscribers, making it the largest mobile social network in Africa.

The book is available on Mxit, for users to download and is also (traditionally) available in book stores countrywide.

Photographer: Marcus Viljoen
Image 1: Mobinomics: Mxit and the Mobile Revolution in Africa
Image 2: Alan Knott-Craig Jr, mobile entrepreneur, author, and Mxit’s new CEO
Image 3: Co-author, Gus Silber 

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