RLabs Space Launch

Last week we’ve had an exciting time at the launch of the RLabs Social Innovation Space. The space will be used for the RLabs Academy, Research Institute, Community Work, Developing of new products and services as well as an Innovation Incubator that will allow the growth of community ideas into products. It was at the end of the launch that the space was opened to the public and the Social Revolution has officially begun…

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RLabs Academy Registration Day 1

Today the new RLabs Space was buzzing with excitement as we did the registration with the Mom 4.0, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Social Media for Teens courses. Below is some of the images and a video of how excited all the women from the community were to be part of the Social Revolution. We will upload more images and updates on how the day went.

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RLabs Academy empowering Champions

The RLabs Academy is in full swing this year with a range of community development courses being offered. Some of the courses on offer through the academy are:

- Web and Information Literacy
- Basic Computer Literacy
- Extensive experience on Various Social Media Tools
- Campaigning and Basic Marketing
- Social Media and Entrepreneurship
- Social Media for Development (See the Geeky Moms interview above)
- Legacy Programme with developing matriculants into young leaders

All the courses in the Academy is FREE and is part of the approach of developing and empowering community members who are the future Social Innovation Champions.

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Mobile Phone Numbers in South Africa – Part 2

After 3 days of having our survey LIVE on MXit and our Mobi site we wanted to share some more preliminary findings. With the volume of respondents increasing by 200% since our first update below is selected updates with some new insights:

The top mobile handset brand according to our respondents is still Nokia with 60% followed by Samsung with 21%. Only 3% of the mobile users were using a Blackberry handset this could be due to large volume of Blackberry users not actively using MXit as their preferred Instant Messenger.

A new addition to our data was that 34% of mobile phone users were using multiple sim cards of which more than 60% of these using a sim card that differs from their primary service provider. We also noted that the number of mobile users using pre-paid to cover their cellular costs increased and currently at 87%. It is also interesting to note that amongst youth aged 13 – 25 the number of pre-paid users are 92%.


A new addition to our findings also shows that the most used function according to South African mobile users is Instant Messaging with 32%. Interesting to note that the mobile internet is growing with more than 25% of the respondents indicating that they actively use it. Other than MXit which was the most popular mobile social network used amongst the youth, Facebook numbers proved to be growing steadily with it being 20 times more than the Twitter users.

We will release the rest of the study in a few weeks with Youth Research Partners and the RLabs Research Institute giving more insight into the preferences and usage of mobile phones in South Africa. If you are interested in this study please contact the RLabs Research Institute here.

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Mobile and Cloud Technologies to empower youth at risk

This has been an exciting week with many of our DAS Counsellors being flooded with responses from youth who are seeking employment and study opportunities. After an article in the media indicating that 51% of South African youth are unemployed we really see an opportunity for Department of Education and Trade and Industry to provide after school opportunities that will reach this target audience. This week alone we’ve received more than 400 conversations per hour via MXit, Africa’s largest mobile social network, requesting support in the area of careers, employment and studies. This is directly due to 74% of our 250,000+ mobile support users are aged between 15 – 25.

At RLabs we are launching our FREE Academy for the community and youth at risk, as well providing career mentorship programmes via MXit and our JamiiX Cloud System. Our partnership with MXit and support from Vodacom Foundation and SAFIPA is key to growing these services to youth across South Africa.

The work we are doing have been highlighted in a number of local newspapers and online news portals. You can view some of the articles below:

Cape Times (3 February 2011)

IT Online (3 February 2011)

News 24 (1 February 2011)

My Broadband (1 February 2011)

VolksBlad (3 February 2011)

Beeld (3 February 2011)

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Mobile Phone numbers in South Africa


Today RLabs launched a survey to get an indication of mobile phone usage in South Africa. The survey will be served via mobile social network platform, MXit, to a few thousand users and this is one of our ongoing mobile research studies that we are doing in collaboration with our global partner the Mobile Youth Network . Through this and future studies we hope to bring a better understanding of mobile phone usage in Southern Africa with a specific focus on youth and young adults.

Below we share some of the early findings of our study:


Demographics of the early findings shows that our respondents are 48% Male and 52% Female. The age group with the highest number of users on MXit is age group 18 – 24 with 54% (See image above for age breakdown).

The most popular mobile phone handset is Nokia with 53% of the respondents followed by 25%. The rest of the handsets were:

Sony Ericsson – 8%
LG – 7%
Blackberry – 4%
iPhone – 1%
HTC – 1%
Motorola – 1%
Other – 1%

Our early study also showed that 82% of our mobile phone users are using Pre-paid accounts. It was also interesting to see that Cell C was the preferred service provider with 38% of the users followed by MTN 31% and Vodacom with 30% of users. Telkom’s 8Ta launched during 2010 had 1% of the users with Virgin Mobile not being used by any of our early respondents.

We will release the rest of the study in a few weeks with Youth Research Partners and the RLabs Research Institute giving more insight into the preferences and usage of mobile phones in South Africa. If you are interested in this study please contact the RLabs Research Institute here.

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