ZAConnect: Bringing South Africans Together Snap by Snap

ZAConnect is a Snapchat based social media advocacy and content marketing enterprise. In November 2016, a trio banded together to connect South Africans throughout the digital universe. Their goal was to create a platform that encourages open and honest engagement with topics that may not usually be easy to have face to face.

Snapchat has made its way into the hearts of its users. Public figures and our favorite news publications alike are all on Snapchat. As a blend of visual and text based communication, Snapchat is perfect! Granted, with similarities between Snapchat and Instagram Stories, the former was the original. Snapchat created a way for young entrepreneurs to get their messages out differently when it launched in 2012. Now, ZAConnect is doing the same for South Africans around the world.

The ZAConnect Leader 

To connect well with Snapchat, one has to be a social media user themselves. After the conceptualization of ZAConnect, Thabile Mpe joined her partners in bringing the idea to life. “They approached me as they felt I would be the right person to [lead] the idea” she says. With her aptitude for language, speaking five languages excluding English, she relates to different people easily.

Thabile is outgoing and personable with a true people person’s quality. In fact, many may already know her as @BongoMuffing on Twitter. Her Twitter following engages with daily, leading to her own views garnering the attention of the likes of PowerFM

The makings of a memorable host

One must be a South African to host in the first place. Overall, ZAConnect is about South Africans sharing their stories. Therefore, aside from one’s heritage, not much stands in the way of hosting. It doesn’t matter whether or not the host is in the borders. Thabile says the enjoy having South Africans living abroad host because it adds a different cultural perspective for those at home.

Thabile mentions the most memorable conversations as “the snap day where a young, black, queer young lady taking us into the world of kink.” She says the takeover was a culture and general shock, even for their most open minded snappers.

To Thabile, she “particularly achieved what it was that we are going for with ZAConnect…she gave people a platform to want to talk about things that are considered to be taboo in society.” Her willingness to host and engage on such a topic showed a level of bravery too. As much as ZAConnect promotes openness to conversation, they understand that there is still the chance that people will be mistreated and cyber-bullied while they host.

The ZAConnect hosts who live abroad have, “all brought a lovely cultural aspect which we enjoyed,” Thabile shares. One of the most recent overseas hosts lives in New York City and took fellow snappers around the city, but also around the South African embassy of NYC.

Live broadcasts and data for ZAConnect

ZAConnect’s core function is to connect people through Snapchat. However they also make use of the live features on different social media platforms when they cover events. This happened at the Maftown Heights event last year, where ZAConnect had press passes.

Streaming can’t be mentioned without the note of high data costs in South Africa. “It is ridiculous how much South Africans pay for data,” Thabile says. High data prices have a negative impact for any digital enterprise. “The less people who are online means the less people to zaconnect to,” Thabile explains.

If you’ve watched a ZAConnect takeover before, leave a comment with your favorite viewing experience!


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