Can Umuntu Media Change The Way Africa Communicates? First Portal is Not Stellar – Changes Needed

Umuntu Media says Africa’s time has come as it looks at the way we will communicate in future. Thank you because for centuries Africa could not develop an indigenous way of writing. We talk a lot. But yes, Umuntu Media has a solution to get us to the web and connect us.


Ok. The year 2011 could not have started any better for Umuntu Media as Umuntu recently announced ambitious plans to improve internet media in 19 African countries with eType handling the media sales.


Johan Nel, CEO of Umuntu Media has this to say:

“We all know it, all the signs are there. Investments are starting to flow into our beautiful continent. Africa is about people, it’s about connecting people with information and it’s about localism. Gone are the days where African traffic goes to just international website. We need to stand up and be counted; we need to create African media companies.


“We need to create online communities, make relevant information available for the masses. We need to educate, create marketing opportunities and empower the man on the street. The cost and connection speed issue for most of the African countries are still  present, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The growth in numbers is already there, the cables are coming and more connections will need more relevant local content. ”



Nel – a former digital executive with Naspers – says Umuntu Media is “going to change the way Africa communicates, accesses information, stays informed and transacts online.  It’s our reason for being.  The name Umuntu means “person ” in the Ndebele African language”. He added:  “In 2011 and 2012 we will be launching 19 internet portals across Africa. Each portal will be branched out into loads of brand extensions, mobile apps, WAP sites and online communities. This gives Umuntu Media a market of 96 933 300 internet users to play in. ”


The first portal for Zambia ( went live on January 1, 2011 with already almost 2 000 ‘likes’ on the iZambia Facebook page. Unfortunately, that is the problem. That portal cannot meet the vision of Nel. There is no way they can change Africa if what they have on that Izambia is what he plans to use to transform Africa. It will not happen and he could be dreaming.


Of course, anything can be redesigned, but they are not starting very well. That site is very dirty with those texts Google ads. I am not confident that Africa youth will like to stay there for long. You need a new strategy Nel if your vision will work. The content on weather is fine, but Africa does not have much weather problems. Your news content is weak and the site planning is not great.


Plus the news is recycling of AP news and nothing local. Who cares what is happening in Iran? The robot in Japan? Anyone can get that from CNN or AP, we need to read the local contents in Zambia and that is where we need you to innovate.


The vision of Umuntu is great, but that iZambia is not the roadmap. Take out those Google ads or make better ones. Otherwise, this may not work out.  You are funded by eVA Fund and you may need to hire local reporters to put local contents that will differentiate that site.


Anyway, we wish you good luck.


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