Umuntu Media’s iZimbabwe.co.zw portal is now officially live. The company is making good of its $1 million war chest to build local portals across the region and appears to be in a state of continuous improvement. iZimbabwe.co.zw has been launched concurrently with Botswana, bringing the number of portals under its wing to four.
As bandwidth costs decline and availability continues to improve, Africa is the last frontier where content is concerned. The key challenges it presents in this regard are centred on its fragmented states and multitude of languages. As difficult as these might sound, the potential of commanding such a vast market seems too tempting to ignore as Microsoft’s MSN, Nasper’s News24, and Yahoo among others have indicated similar intentions. All this while Google has been launching classified sites and other platforms.
Umuntu Media is working with local reporters on ground and has already picked up 442 Facebook fans on the iZimbabwe portal while the Botswana one has 992. Umuntu CEO and founder Johan Nel explained the rationale behind the expansion: “The tremendous growth of iNamibia and iZambia from a standing start in January has taken us to the next evolutionary step, as we now launch iZimbabwe and iBotswana. According to CEO and Founder, Johan Nel “Now is an exciting time for Africa and also for Umuntu, which we can see in the uptake of our local content portals. We are looking forward to the next phase in which we will be aggressively rolling out seven more portals by April 2012.”
Johan went on to elaborate that the growth of the iPortal model has brought forward significant opportunities for his company. Umuntu is also working towards introducing a mobile platform under the name Mimiboard. Brian Herman of eVentures Africa fund, which poured in $1million series seed into the company had the following to say; “We started the Umuntu Media journey with Johan Nel about a year ago. It is unbelievable to experience what he and his team have achieved since then. With a firm belief in his dream and with tremendous drive and passion, Johan drives this media company towards a bright future. I’m convinced that Umuntu Media will become a major digital media player in Africa, offering African content and solutions for Africans and by Africans”.