Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writing for Afrikan Mbiu, a Kenyan Based Lifestyle African Magazine


From now own I will be contributing my articles to a Kenyan based online Magazine, Afrikan Mbiu. Afrikan Mbiu is a lifestyle magazine that showcases innovation and creativity in the African lifestyle space. The latest issue has a cover story of celebrated South African artists, Micasa. Afrikan Mbiu so far has three issues to its credit having started last year under the direction of Julliane Obonyo.

‘Mbiu’ is a Swahili term which translates to horn.Traditionally in African societies a horn was blown to call people to a single location to notify them about what was going on in that village.

The aim of the magazine is to show what Africa has to offer to the whole world. ‘Mbiu’ is the horn and it’s the medium used to call the rest of the world to come and witness what Africa and its lifestyle culture is all about. The word ‘Mbiu’ gives the magazine more of an African feel. It has contributors from all over Africa who write about what happens in their countries.

The main aim is to have a platform that can unite Africans. A platform in which we can learn about different African cultures. This ensures that you are always up to date with what is happening in Africa. The online magazine will be published once every two months.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Groceries Deliveries - Malawi's own online retailer and home delivery service

Shopping can be fun but it also needs time and effort. To some it is a time consuming activity while to others it is even more challenging because of the physical disabilities they have. In order to remove the hustle of going shopping for regular goods and standing on long queues, a Malawian owned and upcoming start-up, Groceries Deliveries, was established to supply and deliver groceries at your door step.


According to its founder and developer, Dumisani Ndhlovu, the start-up first had in mind people who are disabled, students, patients, tourists and executives who may not have time to go for shopping. He said Groceries Deliveries provide an easiest way to get groceries directly to ones home, workplace or any other place. Emulating the likes of Amazon, Groceries Deliveries is currently able to deliver goods within Blantyre City and some parts of Mangochi where they have customers.

Customers are asked to signup freely on their website and choose from over 5000 goods they have in stock. Then they are called by the Groceries and Deliveries team to discuss a mode of payment as they are not currently using online payment. After payment is agreed, the goods are delivered to the location in good time. Goods are currently sourced from various shops like Game Stores, Peoples, Shoprite, and Chipiku. Groceries and deliveries has also partnered with local companies like Universal Industries, Nali Limited, Dairiboard and Carlsberg Malawi.

Ndholvu however said that they have plans to reach out other districts of Malawi and to have their own shop where they can stock all the goods. He also talked about the challenges they are facing as a business in Malawi. He however was very pleased at the response they are getting. Groceries Deliveries currently employs 12 people.

Innovations at the Malawi Science and Technology Fair

The #Malawi Science and Technology Fair is underway at the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds. It was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Vincent Ghambi on 22nd October 2014. I took time to visit and appreciate the various Science ICT and technology innovations on display. Below are some of the innovations, technologies and ideas.

On the Chancellor College Faculty of Science stand


There are several innovations on display including some from students who are not yet in the college but are learning in secondary schools around Zomba. Under the Supervisorship of Dr Chimora Mikeka the students are given the freedom to use the university's lab to work on their ideas.

Radio Jammer / Detector

Using various electronic components sourced locally, Happy Chimbende a 4th Year student of Bachelor of Education Science has designed a simple radio frequency jammer and detector which can jam radio frequencies around a radius of 50 meters. The device is capable of nullifying signals like FM and AM, radios, phones or any gadget that uses radio frequencies. Happy has intentionally reduced the radius to avoid interfering with other people unlawfully.


The Radio frequency jammer can be used to block all unlicensed spectrum user at a give radius. We tried using it and it worked.


There is also an innovation from Mixon Faluweki a guy who invented a bicycle powered phone charger. Mixon, a third year Bachelor of Education Science student was shortlisted among top 15 African finalist in the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Competition. He was nominated for his bicycle powered charger called, Padoko Charger. The innovation is on display at the Chancellor college stand.

A 14 year old girl from St Mary's Secondary School, Elizabeth Kananji is also displaying her High Efficiency Solar panel she managed to invent. A solar panel enhanced with aluminium foils is able to generate more electricity than a normal panel.



Then there is another 3rd year Bachelor of Education Science student, Chisomo Daka, who displayed a battery made from ashes and a locally made television transmitter. He explained to me on this video.

Other innovations included;

An idea to computerise the filing system at the Malawi Police Service. The web-based content management system is called Malawi Police Crime Management Information System. According to a member of the team that developed the system, Jonathan Mojoo, the want to help the police service to deal away with manual filing systems which is often abused and is time consuming.

An android app that translates English to Chichewa and another Android app that is used to collect Data in fields and update a central server in real time. All these innovations were under the supervision of Lecturers Dr Chimora Mikeka and Ms. Chipo Kanjo.

Malawi Communications Regulation Authority (MACRA) Stand


The regulatory body is displaying what happens behind the scenes when they monitor the signals all over the country. With various screens on display one is able to appreciate the way the frequency spectrum spans out in real time. They also have their monitoring van parked outside the hall.


Globe Internet Malawi Stand

Apart from being one of the big Internet Service Provider, Globe also sells and manages a vehicle monitoring system which is on display on their stand.


Other stands are TNM, MALSWITCH, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Anglia Books, Techno Brain and Infosys Consult.

However the turnout of both the participants, the innovations and general public is not impressive in the two days it has been running. The Fair will run up to Friday 24 October 2014.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MyJobo - A Malawian solution to searching jobs online


There was a time when Malawians would scramble for newspapers at the various National Library Service offices just to check the days vacancies. Gone are those days as job search as been made easier. myJobo.com is a Malawian owned start-up which seeks to connect employers and employees, allow job seekers to maintain their job application history, provide business opportunities and give career advice to those in need of it.

myJobo.com was launched as a beta site in July and plans to have a big launch in the coming months. So far the start-up has acquired a SSL security licence that puts it in the same light as reputable websites like Google and Twitter. This gives trust to both employers and employees because the security of their data is assured. The site allows users to upload CVs, create profiles and apply for various jobs online.

The site's mentor, Watipaso Mkandawire and its Operations Director, Geoffrey Banda are so far impressed with the response the site is getting from the general public. The site is also good for Malawians in diaspora who can also apply for jobs online.

myJobo.com is a big step forward and is better than the vacancy posting Facebook groups which many Malawians are currently using. The Facebook groups have no facility to store the job applications you have made, they do not allow you to create an account or even store data. Another popular job searching site in Malawi is Jobs in Malawi website.