Botswana’s first mobile game is expected to be released next month, a start to an anticipated exponential growth of the industry. Though mobile game industry has been growing in some African countries such as Kenya and South Africa, local innovators, animators, script writers and developers are yet to fully jump on the bandwagon.
With over 50 mobile games already produced in Africa, local company Bantu Vision Productions has developed the country’s first mobile game – Free Range, a 3D endless runner mobile game. “Our ultimate goal is to build this industry, it is non-existing in Botswana. We want to show the world that we are ready,” said Richmond Kato Mouti, Bantu Vision Co-Founder and Managing Director, highlighting that most people have ignored mobile game industry, affectionately referred to as dipopae in local lingo.
However, other countries are moving ahead, South African game development industry has seen some staggering growth, in the last few years with titles making waves on the international gaming scene. “We have the resources – talent and skills,” said Mouti, oozing with confidence that mobile games have potential to prop up the local economy, currently making widespread efforts to diversify from diamonds.
As pioneers of the local mobile gaming industry, Mouti highlights that financial challenges has slowed down their pace. Mouti believes a well funded mobile game development should take four months. “Ours has been delayed by painful speed humps that we get along the way,” said Mouti, highlighting that Free Range game concept started last year, and coming up with an original African concept was a challenge.
Mouti believes Africa has a lot more to offer to the international market through mobile games.“The world has used up, all the concepts in the mobile gaming industry, except for the African story. There is hunger for the African content. “We (mobile game developers) are not exposing Africa and the world is hungry for the continent,” said Mouti emphasizing mobile game market is international and not limited to local.
His sentiments were also shared by Free Range scriptwriter Serena Serene Mmifinyana who believes the game has potential to reach a different audience. “The game has a lot of life, captures a lot of landscape. We were looking for something authentic,” said Mmifinyana.
The launch of Free Range is expected next month for free on iOS, Android and Windows; it will also be accompanied by an animated cartoon series. Meanwhile the company has also teamed up with eBotswana to produce an animation for children titled Zed the Zebra.
Cell City rewards customers
Cell City gave away two Toyota Hilux pick up cars worth about P300 000 and three Hisense televion sets worth P15 000 each to their customers through their annual competition.
In partnership with Hisense and Orange Botswana, Cell City conducts annual competitions to reward their customers and contribute to citizen empowerment. Handing over the cars on Friday, Cell City Chief Executive Officer, Brian White said through the competition they want to satisfy their customers and give back to the community. “Cell City and Orange clients were given a chance to win either a Toyota Hilux pickup or a Hisense television set.
All they had to do was purchase any Hisense mobile phone from a Cell City or Orange retail outlet and fill in the competition form in the store,” said White.Thato Ntshabele, who won one of the cars told the Business Trends that she bought a Hisense cell phone worth P900. 00.
“I never expected that I can win a car. I was just filling the forms and dropped into the entry box and I forgot about it. I am so happy to receive this prize and I thank Cell City for this opportunity,” said Ntshabele. Another winner, Dimakatso Mmusi expressed his excitement saying he had always wanted a van and he is grateful to Cell City.
“I just bought a cell phone worth P899.00 at Cell City Railpark mall, I never expected anything, and I was just submitting the form as I was requested by the shop assistants. This car is very useful to me,” said Dimakatso.
Smecha chillie hits the shelves
For the love of food and the passion to apply modern technology processes in food manufacturing locally, Kgalaletso Mothoagae established her own brand, Smecha specializing in relishes.
She processes and packages chillie in 325 gramms and 1 litre bottles selling at P50 and P150. She told the Business Trends that she decided to process chillies as it is one of the products that are rarely processed in the food industry.
She started cooking it for home consumption and later started selling to friends and currently the product has gone beyond borders at South African Spar shops and Restaurants. “I couldn’t look for any other vegetable as most of them have already been processed in the market. It is my first product of research in the food industry so I found out that I can do good business with this product. This chillie is free from preservatives but still has extended shelf life of 6 months,” said Mothoagae
The Kanye born young lady studied food technology and has the passion to explore the food processing market in Botswana and contribute to reduce the high food import bill. “I wanted to explore more about food and use my skills to contribute to the development of the local food processing and manufacturing industry. I also wanted to supplement my income at the same time,” said Mothoagae.
She has a degree in Food Technology. She says there is a lot of potential for business growth as there is a demand for the product locally and in South Africa. “My main customers are individuals in homes, they have embraced the product, and they love the taste. There is also a market that has been secured in SA; it is available in several shops like spars and some restaurants”. In future, Mothoagae said she would increase the product range to 10 using various vegetables and flavours.
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