Afroes is a South African start-up which creates user-orientated mobile games with social impact. These games are an education tool to inspire the conversations and actions of youth across Africa. For example, the flagship game ‘Moraba’ helps young people to introspect about gender-based violence in everyday life. Mxolisi Xaba, content developer of Afroes, helps us to understand how it works.
Why Afroes was created?
“Afroes was created to deliver and develop alternative content that is afrocentric and for the African audience, in particular the African youth audience.
How does it work exactly?
“We create digital content in the form of games that we deliver to our youth audiences with a social context and a social message around their life experiences or life orientation issues. These issues can be gender-based violence, child protection, substance abuse or teenage pregnancy for example. We want our target audience to get the opportunity to realize their life potential.
How these games can have an impact on young people’s lives?
“At the core of why we develop a game sits the idea of having to generate awareness around a particular issue. Therefore we try and attempt to get users to introspect on the life choices and life decisions they make for themselves. That may put them in a particular position which may compromise their life, their safety, their security or their potential with regards to their ambition or wishes for their life.
Do you have three words to describe the spirit of Afroes?
“Play, inspire, impact.
What was the biggest difficulty since the creation?
“The biggest challenge has really been people looking at our output as us playing around with serious social issues instead of providing a solution with regards to an attempt to engage social issues. Maybe we are doing it playfully, but we are not playing with these serious life issues. We are just engaging our particular audience in an interactive and non-intimidating manner where they are open to the messages and to guidance as opposed to us instructing them. They start to look at what the choices they are making, they look at the alternatives in the choices that they could make that could put them in a better position in their life. We are not playing games with the social issues, and we are very serious when it comes to make an impact around these issues.
What are the next challenges for Afroes?
“Growth and reach are the next obstacles that we want to overcome. We have been fortunate enough to know that we have an impactful product, because it helps young people to make better decisions for their lives. Now, we need to reach the masses, we want to broadcast our messages to everyone and anyone!
Today, a lot of young South Africans want to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure to help society, do you have a piece of advice for them?
“The advice I would give is to be a visionary and a dreamer first and foremost. Know that no one understand your dream better than you do. Do not let anyone doubt your potential, believe in that dream and then just go after it! Go there, do something about it. That has been the Afroes way: we did not wait to be convinced about our vision, we did it and then people became convinced. When you are convinced about what you want to achieve in life, people will just follow you thereafter.
Interview conducted in March 2014.