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Mxit, in partnership with Gate 7 CEO Emma Kaye, launched two new user generated content portals called Mopix and Zwakanaka in the first week of November. Within four days of going live, the portals had received in excess of 30 000 hits.
Kaye is widely known as an innovator and industry leader in the fields of animation and mobility. She is recognised as one of the top 50 women globally in mobile entertainment.
The first of the portals, Zwakanaka, is aimed at a street-wise youth culture that wants more than the classic once-off video and music downloads. Through MXit, the content is accessible to a township market offering young filmmakers and mobile users alike an opportunity to create and enjoy user-generated content.
Zwakanaka is all about township cool and the ‘right now’. There are three series to choose from:
- “Battle of the MCEE’s” is where 4Real, a hip hop raga muffin emcee, is on the look out for the freshest sounds. Each week the two emcees with the most votes battle it out for the Mix Emcee of the month.
- “How to Dance” focuses on local moves and the latest grooves.
- “Jozi Gyspy” uses her psychic powers to give users expert advice about their relationships, business and how to get what they want.
The second portal, Mopix, tells edu-taining township stories. Created by young people from the Khayelitsha area, these films are made on mobile, for mobile and take a fresh, motivational and fun approach.
There are four series to choose from:
- “Word Is” takes expression to the next level, bringing the best local poets and the hottest hip-hop artists right to the user’s phone.
- “Grannies” proves that age is just a number as a group of spirited seniors make the most of every day.
- “Closer to God” explores the religions of the world
- Filmmaking Tutorials shows users how easy it is to create mobi-tainment.
New episodes are available every Thursday with direct access to filmmakers via the MXit chat rooms.
The projects were created in partnership with Hillside Digital and World Film Collective for Zwakanaka and Mopix respectively. Hillside Digital trains township youth to be social activists through making documentary films. World Film Collective is a London-based charity that uses the emerging genre of mobile phone filmmaking to empower and inspire young people around the world.
Through these partnerships Kaye’s vision for the mobile platform has given birth to creative filmmaking. Characterised by storytelling, the content acts as an enabler for young filmmakers who want to become financially sustainable.
Says Kaye: “This astonishing uptake in such a short time period shows us that there is a demand for relevant and interactive entertainment on the small screen. Mobility has huge socio-economic, educational, commercial, societal and individual significance. We are enabling the township youth in South Africa to not only create this content, but to deliver it through an accessible platform to and audience that is hungry for localized, affordable and relevant content. We are giving the townships a voice.”