The death of Mxit. Officially.



I was never really a fan of mxit. I probably had like 5 accounts, because I kept on forgetting my pin and then I eventually gave up on it. Mxit was a big thing in high school, it was like the official dating site for students and between people who new and did not know each other. A hunting ground for thirsty boys and girls.

I say around 2006-2007 it was at the peak of its popularity, this was when Facebook was also making the rounds, if I remember correctly. As a person who did not use it much, I am saddened that a piece of South African digital history  (in terms of start-up culture and movement) is gone!

When you visit their website, you get a 404 error and this short description of what once was: 

“Launched in 2005, Mxit was incredibly data-light and gave a generation of millennials the opportunity to engage with one another in an innovative and cost-effective way.

Over 10 years it grew into a mobile social network with an ecosystem of services that was accessible on more than 11 000 mobile devices, including feature phones, and used by more than 100 million people in emerging markets across the globe.

Mxit also played a very important role in improving the lives of millions through access to free education, health and counselling services. This work continues through The Reach Trust.”

I am sure that the people who were still in charge of the app and saw its demise over the years tried all their might to revive the platform. But, I think that the app and its legacy could have been used to grow the industry that is start-ups across South Africa and the rest of Africa. The offices and the resources that Mxit had acquired over the years could possibly be used to create an African hub of tech companies, well established ones and also start-ups. Anyways that is just my thinking. Here is a look at Mxit growth over the years:

Mxit was founded by Herman Heunis  and launched in 2005.

In 2006 – One-million users. The social network rides a wave of rapid growth in mobile ownership.

2007 – Three-million users. Naspers buys a 30% stake in Mxit in January.

2008 – Mxit claims to have 7.5-million users.

2009 – 15-million registered users [4], grows to 20-million registered users within months.

2010 – 27-million registered users [6], 17-million active.

2011 – 42-million registered users [8]. Alan Knott-Craig Jr and World of Avatar buy Mxit.

2012 -50-million registered users[9], 10-million active users[10] Active user numbers later fall to 9.35-million [11]. Knott-Craig steps down. Industry insider tells Moneyweb active user numbers are closer to five-million.

2013 – 7.4-million active African users, 6.5-million South African active users [13]. Mxit changes the way it reports stats.

2014 – 4.9-million active users.[14] Industry insider tells MyBroadband that number has actually fallen below one-million mark.

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