Bozza, a mobile filmmaking application that enables communities to tell their stories from the inside out, is the brainchild of South African CEO Emma Kaye.
Kaye’s company developed the app, which is licensed to filmmakers who create made-for-mobile content on smart phones or iPads in townships all across the African continent. Bozza allows the filmmakers and their audiences to see life through local music, videos, photos, businesses and more.
“It’s a place to discover and share content with your community and friends, and also for m-commerce,” Kaye said. “It enables small enterprises within a township environment to leverage a mobile phone for their commercial use.”
M-commerce, short for mobile commerce, is the growing practice of conducting financial and promotional activities with the use of a wireless handheld device such as a smart phone or an iPad. While still in its infancy, the concept of m-commerce has been refined in recent years and is beginning to become more popular around the world — particularly in Africa.
Kaye said she was struck by the fact that in South Africa there was no local content available for its fast-growing, emerging market. So she and her colleagues went out to small communities in Cape Town and Johannesburg and trained locals to make short films using their mobile phones.
“The reason we did that was there is a very strong culture of storytelling in the African environment,” she said. “Yet historically there has been very little access to funding, technology, broadcast, and distributors to tell the story. Yet with the growth of technology — particularly the mobile phone — it means there is an ability to tell your story.”
The experiment paid off. Following a five-day course on how to create stories, filmmakers came up with content on social issues, politics, dance, comedy, poetry, music, financial literacy and local businesses. Bozza’s audience blossomed immediately.
“Within two days we had 40,000 users,” Kaye said. “In the first month, we had 170,000 users, which showed an incredible appetite for local content.”
The Bozza movement is all about the community taking ownership of the content the app provides. Bozza offers an avenue of access to self-expression, whether it’s how you cook, how you talk, how you do business or how you engage, Kaye said.
“Bozza is a platform which is co-created from investors to filmmakers,” Kaye said. “And we engage with everyone at every stage of the process. We engage with the community, with key individuals within townships, so that we’re completely embedded within them.”