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Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013)


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Presented at NetExplo, Paris, 15 February 2013

Published in: Education
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Yoza Cellphone Stories (NetExplo winner 2013)

  1. 1. m-Novels for AfricaSteve VoslooNetExplo, Paris15 February 2013
  2. 2. The Yoza Project• Yoza enables reading, writing and engagement via mobile phones• South African project launched August 2009, initially funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation• Through Yoza, short stories, poems and classic literature are published on MXit and on a mobisite -- a website for mobiles• Highly interactive: users can comment, vote, enter writing competitions and review stories
  3. 3.
  4. 4. What our users commented“Its great ... for me it really hard to pick up abook to start readin but i don mind readin onmy phone”dotty1
  5. 5. Background
  6. 6. 51%South African households that own no leisure books (TNS Research Surveys, 2006)
  7. 7. 7%Public schools in South Africa that have functional libraries of any kind (Equal Education, 2009)
  8. 8. 43%Percentage of Grade 9 learners that scored 50% or higher in home language tests (Dept of Basic Education, 2012)
  9. 9. Kontax on MXit (2009)
  10. 10. >63,000 subscribers>17,200 reads MXit statistics are for period 31 October to 26 November 2009
  11. 11. Yoza Cellphone Stories
  12. 12. Yoza today
  13. 13. “If friars plan wrks, then romeo wil b able 2cum nd take juliet wit hm 2 liv hapily 2geda atmantua bt if it fails, sumbdys gna b dead. Lol!”Elsie
  14. 14. “I loved the book, wish it didnt have an ending.Shakespear please bring another one like thisone. IT WAS MWAAAH!!”Blessed1
  15. 15. The basics• A growing library of titles: 31 m-novels, 18 poems, 5 Shakespeare plays• Some stories are serialised (a chapter a day) and every chapter of every story has a comment prompt or vote prompt• Stories in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa• Stories are free but costs for mobile data (less than 1c EUR per chapter)• All stories are either openly licensed (CC) or in the public domain
  16. 16. >575,000 reads>50,000 comments>200,000 unique visitors>90,000 MXit subscribers Period: August 2010 to December 2012
  17. 17. “I realy lv de story, it ws touchy evn painfulagain i hv learnd a lot 4rm it. Am gona pass it 2my frnd nd family 2 read 4 dem self”(Anon)
  18. 18. “Aha” moment:Mobile phones are a viabledistribution platform forlonger form content and forenabling user participation
  19. 19. “Yes I know about Shakespeare we are doingRomeo + Juliet and next year Macbeth. This isactually such a relief because we might nothave had enough books for 2011.”English teacher, Cape Town
  20. 20. Anthony Baatjies, Zandile Ntlatli,Christopher Mzamo and LamlaNyikila + Louise McCann
  21. 21. “Wow wat a story i like it shame it realy upliftsda spirits of those livng with HIV it shows thtbeing hiv+ is no death sentence wow am sotouched as im also livng wit hiv”Yonela
  22. 22. Chain Story Challenge: 6 writers 6 hours 1 storyYoza was one of six writing chain gangs“I.LOV IT IT HAS LOTS OF ADVANTURE”Shedow18
  23. 23. “I alwayz (H)ur stories guyz and i alwayz learnsmthing new”Sisipho
  24. 24. Beyond Yoza
  25. 25. On Vodafone Live!, zero data charges (totally free)”Love, sex and relationships in the time of AIDS”Yoza story:13,000 reads11,000 comments
  26. 26. WorldreaderOver 500,000 readers in December from Zimbabwe,Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, India …Published Yoza stories: The Awesomes, Sisterz, Kontax
  27. 27. FunDzaSouth African literacyimprovement initiative>500,000 active usersacross multiple channels>50 short storiesCharge for some content
  28. 28. Final thoughts
  29. 29. Mobile phone is the e-reader of AfricaParticipatory culture happens through mobiledevices: consumption, creation, engagementInteractivity is keyTxtspk iz hr 2 stayEmerging mobile literacies
  30. 30. Reading, writing andengaging in Africa
  31. 31. “The stories r interesting nd fun 2 read, theykip ma englsh gng”Hlengiwe gulube
  32. 32. How to access Yoza and contact detailsBrowser: www.yoza.mobiMXit: Add a contact (MXit Services) called yozaFacebook: Steve Vosloo Louise McCann 42