How I Created and Launched a Website from the Internet Café in Zimbabwe, Africa

I came across this post and it inspired me to keep on keeping on (whatever that means lol). But here is a man who do not sit and wait for his future to be decided by circumstances surrounding him instead, he takes control to decide his own future. If you are one of those Africans waiting for some magic to happen, I am scared to tell you that there is no such thing. Get down and get busy. Read on;

After my last interview with a big mining firm, I got fed up. I had gone to many interviews with big companies, and the result was always the same. With unemployment at a staggering 80% , one can imagine the stiffness of the competition , now add corruption and your chances are next  to none.

I graduated with a BSc Information Systems from Midlands State University of Zimbabwe in December 2009.When I graduated I had high hopes of a good job , two years later I realised that no one was probably going to give me that chance any time soon.

Confronted with a not so rosy future, I decided I was going to build a web application. I had read so many stories so I was optimistic plus it was the only chance that I had to be noticed.

I needed an idea, so I brainstormed a couple of ideas but none of them interested me. Then it dawned on me that I needed to solve a problem that I know, if people didn’t like the idea, I would just use my application for my own good.

I visit a lot of hip hop sites and sometimes  a site might have one good story or content. I decided to build a hip hop link aggregator with social networking features. Besides it will also give me an opportunity to sharpen my programming skills.

My programming skills were a bit rusty , I did not have an internet connection ,there was no one to help if  I encounter a problem and I did not have  a debit or credit card to purchase a domain  name or hosting. It seemed impossible but I had no choice.

Firstly to solve the domain name problem I contacted a friend who had a debt card. He purchased the domain name www.mixdem.com for me. With that solved I searched Google for a good free web host and found capnix.

Having purchased the domain name and  the hosting I began development of the website. I would work mostly during the night because during the day the would be no power most of the time. If I encounter I challenge , I would work at it until I found a solution. I would  go to the internet café to download websites that I needed to scrape and also search for a solution to a problem that I had failed to solve. The social networking part  was difficult but I managed to pull through , it had features like voting on content that you like , u could follow people like on twitter , share your thoughts , comments , algorithms to rate content and messages between members. Three weeks later I had a working prototype and ready to test it.

I now wanted to launch , I went to the internet café and created an account with capnix hosting. Logged to my Godaddy account and set the name servers to point  to my capnix account. Uploaded the website and set up the database. Then I waited for the name servers to propagate. After two days I checked and the website was not yet accessible. I had made an error in created  the account so I had to do it again. After hours of trying to figure it out, I finally managed to set it up and my website was now visible.

The time to promote the website had come, I set up a twitter account and engaged with the hip hop community there. I also posted on Facebook about the project and a couple of classifieds websites. I was just looking for feedback and was not expecting a  lot of traffic.

After about a week after the launch the response has been humbling. Considering that I did not much marketing other than tell few friends ,the site had 500 unique visits which is quite impressive. A lot of people have contacted me with business ideas and others want me to freelance on their projects.

As a result of this project, my future now seem bright and  I have started getting a lot of opportunities that I did not have before. If you find yourself in a position like me , don’t lost hope instead start a project and tell people about it , it doesn’t have to perfect and use all the resources you can get.

 TechZim

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One Response to “How I Created and Launched a Website from the Internet Café in Zimbabwe, Africa”

  1. good one. taking a worthwhile risk always result in success or crew to success. two thing matters: not LIFE and DEATH but what YOU do INBETWEEN. what will you be remembered of. as a stupid poor man or as that successful mogul. the choice is yours

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