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Startups

How I created and launched a website from the internet café in Zimbabwe,Africa

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 the 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 featurers .Besides it will also give me an opportunity to sharpen my programming skills.

My programming skills were a bity rusty , I did not have a 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  http://www.mixdem.com for me.With that solved I searched google for a good free webhost 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 nameservers to point  to my capnix account.Uploaded the website and set up the database.Then I waited for the nameservers 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.

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About Munyuki Manatsa

I am web developer @ http://www.mixdem.com.I like programming in php ,hip hop ,soccer and action movies.

Discussion

35 thoughts on “How I created and launched a website from the internet café in Zimbabwe,Africa

  1. Pretty impressive example of getting the product out there and creating some noise. Good luck with project (and others).

    Posted by Spark N Launch | April 14, 2012, 1:44 pm
  2. Nice story! Fix your punctuation though, it looks pretty awful.

    Posted by asfodsf@fds.com | April 14, 2012, 1:52 pm
    • Your comment is the equivalent of approaching someone that just won a marathon and saying: “Congrats…but seriously, wipe the sweat of your face you look gross.”

      Posted by Nic | April 21, 2012, 6:14 pm
  3. Congratulations! This is an awesome story. The world is full of people who let themselves be batten down by obstacles. You did not! Keep up the good work! :)

    I hope everything will improve for you.

    Posted by Mauro | April 14, 2012, 2:18 pm
  4. Inspiring

    Posted by saurabh | April 14, 2012, 3:04 pm
  5. Very inspiring story and good execution on something that is clearly a passion of yours. Well done!

    Posted by Daniel G | April 14, 2012, 4:01 pm
  6. > Then I waited for the nameservers 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.

    Next time use my DNS Validation tool (http://www.dnsvalidation.com/), it will spot the errors and will save your time for more important things. :)

    Posted by vcherpec | April 14, 2012, 4:24 pm
  7. This is a great story. I can share relate to your pain of doing something like this without any Internet, makes things a lot tougher. Great job and hope you stick with it!

    Posted by jomanlk | April 14, 2012, 5:00 pm
  8. Good for you. We have been working in Uganad with widows and orphans for the past decade. We also run a school. We find that everyone is eager to learn and not afraid of hard work. What we have had difficulty doing is fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Congratulations to you for having a vision and seizing the opportunity.

    Posted by DeWayne Reeves | April 14, 2012, 5:05 pm
  9. Your story is unique, not in the sense of the job market, but the extraordinary obstacles you face and overcoming the challenges in Zimbabwe. But yet you persevered and that in essence my friend is the difference between achievers and slackers.. I checked out your site its awesome and good luck to you.

    If someday you make it to the States shot me an email…

    Posted by Rick | April 14, 2012, 7:47 pm
  10. I am wondering, if you will partner with me on a website like yours, but focused on the interface between hip hop and the transgender community?

    Posted by Allie M | April 15, 2012, 1:03 am
  11. Your story is very important because it demonstrates how much you can do today, just with your ideas, your passions, your commitment, a laptop and, well, an internet cafe that can enable you to be online. And even with no electricity during the day!

    Keep it up, I know I am definitely going to follow your blog. :)

    Posted by Sebastian Komianos (@sebkomianos) | April 15, 2012, 12:12 pm
  12. Awesome. Kudos to you for having the guts and determination to see it through.

    I hope the site continues to grow and is successful for you. Even if not, you will take these learnings and create something else awesome!

    Posted by Susan Jones - Ready Set Startup | April 16, 2012, 10:48 am
  13. hi, keep it up!! contact us http://www.clickgwanda.com maybe we can work something out for you and with you

    Posted by Vaida | April 18, 2012, 11:19 am
  14. I went to the same university as this young man and graduated in 2004 ……after also becoming frustrated with the prospects in Zimbabwe i decided to emigrate to South africa .where i am now based and running my own IT company http://www.deansys.co.za . After having worked in the IT field in South africa for some time i decided it was time for me to start my own IT company .Currently i have a few companies and organizations i consult for and i employ two technicians.

    Posted by Dean Eric Khumalo | April 18, 2012, 8:23 pm
  15. Congrats! The site is great!

    Posted by thebeeobee | April 20, 2012, 5:55 am
  16. Thank you! I’m putting this in the “what’s MY excuse?” category. You’ve accomplished so much amidst obstacles that many of us take for granted (e.g. having electricity during the daytime to develop). I wish you the best of luck with things.

    Posted by Sean Killeen (@sjkilleen) | April 20, 2012, 3:43 pm
  17. Next time you need at URL DM @dotco via Twitter. I am sure they would love to help you out. Also visit http://www.launchrock.com to easily set up a “launching soon” page … for free. Great story!

    Posted by Keith Armstrong (@apknole) | April 20, 2012, 5:59 pm
  18. Really inspiring post.
    By the way how is the web hosting service by capnix?

    Posted by goldishbird | April 21, 2012, 7:48 pm
  19. Congrats for your site. Visiting your site from San Francisco, California

    Posted by Raj | April 23, 2012, 6:03 pm
  20. Munyuki,
    very inspiring achievement.
    I admire your realistic assessment, and the SMART goal-setting.
    You are a person who doesn’t allow the environment to play the controlling role.
    Instead you try to negotiate the environment and create opportunities.

    It seems you prefer to work towards a goal even in the midst of mounting adversities instead of ruing over fate.
    You are optimist, resillient, perseverent, and a positive high-hoper.

    Thanks for sharing your story and very best wishes to you.

    Posted by Prodyot | September 23, 2012, 3:18 am
  21. Thank you for another informative website.
    The place else may I get that type of information written in such a perfect way?
    I have a mission that I am just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

    Posted by iphone repair petaling jaya | May 7, 2013, 12:47 pm
  22. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up fast!

    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours
    lol

    Posted by wiredtree review | May 16, 2013, 9:06 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: How I created and launched a website from the internet café in Zimbabwe, Africa | Techzim - April 16, 2012

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