I was on a trip to PE to visit the schools and teachers involved in the PROTEC/TELKOM Foundation project we are working on. I was there on a Saturday morning, waiting for a meeting, and so I started talking to the children who were in the computer lab.
One young boy in grade 8 – who is not even involved in the programme we are working on, but just comes in because he is thirsty for opportunity – was particularly chatty. He told me he had entered an essay competition, and done well – I think the topic was something like, If I was President for one day, and in the few minutes we talked, I thought he’d probably make a very good president one day!
Anyway, as I’m afraid it always does with me, the conversation went onto reading, and what they read, and how important it is to read. I told them they could read FunDza on their cellphones, and that it was free to read our online library on Cell C if they downloaded Freebasics. Sadly only Cell C, I said. We would LOVE to be zero-rated on other sites, but that hasn’t happened…yet.
“Have you heard of Moya?” the boy asked. I hadn’t, and he showed it to me: a free Messenger app. In the few seconds I saw his screen I noticed it had news available, so obviously could hold content.
It was time for my meeting, and so we didn’t chat much more. As I sat in my car to leave the school, I whatsapped Mignon – Have you heard of Moya? No, she hadn’t, but would investigate.
Within a week we were loaded onto Moya. Overnight we got thousands more readers, and woke up to hundreds of new comments that needed moderating (when a first-time user makes a comment, it has to be approved first). We had always known that data costs are an obstacle, and to see this flood of new users was incredibly exciting for us.
So we were highly appreciative of Anele Desi, the young boy who told me about Moya. On my next visit I brought books and a FunDza T-shirt for him in appreciation of his contribution. Unfortunately he was on a school outing that Saturday, but the PROTEC co-ordinator from the school, Ndipiwe Kona, gave him his goodies later in the week and sent this picture. Apparently he was ‘over the moon’.
As my lecturer friend Eileen Scheckle at NMU says, “Always listen to the children.” In this case it paid off hugely!
If you’d like to find FunDza on Moya – or just find Moya Messenger itself – follow these three simple steps. NB: Moya ONLY works on Android devices.
1. Go to the Google Play store and download Moya Messenger #datafree – download
2. Open the app and follow the registration process
3. Go to Discover > Education > FunDza
And, then read FunDza stories, blogs, poetry and plays as much as you like and #datafree if you are on any of the following networks: Cell C, MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom.