Pause: Are you interested?

Pause: Are you interested?

__Is it time to digitize your own languages in services like Sasai?

Last week our team released the Sasai App in French, then I told them to go back and put a plan in place to have a #Sasai App available in every African language within 12 months!

“How do we do that?” They know, of course, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 languages on the African continent. One source got so specific as 2,143.

So what is possible?

I gave them a simple thought:

“Crowdsource it with education entrepreneurs using my Facebook page. You can ask Sasai groups to come together in each country who are willing to translate our script, and we pay them something. There must be school teachers out there who would translate for us, and oversee the App in their language.”

They have gone off to look into it, and hopefully we can do something, but first I need to know… What you think?

#1. What is your own mother tongue, and country?

#2. Can you put a group together that can do translations?

#3. How do you think it could work best in your community?

I have this vision that we can start off with the biggest languages in each country first (up to four per country for now), and get them up and running within six months, then we can gradually add others.

Unless we do this, we will never feel that we own something.

What do you think?

Let me have your comments.


Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

35 Replies to “Pause: Are you interested?”

  1. #Reflection:

    There is something very profound I’m trying to achieve with this initiative, and it has nothing to with business, and yet ultimately it has everything to do with business.
    For Sasai to be first an African initiative, and then a global initiative out of Africa; it must be owned by the people who use it on a daily basis.
    Those people want the freedom, dignity and intimacy of speaking to relatives and friends in local languages, as they do every day…that is all.
    #We can do it!

  2. #Pause:
    This is how this could work:
    Each country’s language group, will form a Sasai Translation Team, eg.
    “Sasai Igbo
    Once they are selected and approved, they will be given a digital file to translate and agree on. It should not take more than two weeks. Once the file is received back, it will be uploaded on the Sasai App.
    Each time there is an update in the App, the group will be asked to update the translation.
    The group will also translate all regular communications in the language.

    I see no reason why we should not be able to release 250 language versions for Africa.
    We will do the same in Asia, and the Americas.
    People should be willing to do it for free, even though we will pay something to those that maintain the upgrades.

    #It is not the size of a language group that decides its worth in the world. As a Tonga man, or a Hausa man, we are of equal worth in the eyes of God to the English man or Norwegian man.

  3. #Pause:

    By the middle of the next century more than half of the world’s population at the time will be Africans!
    That means our languages like Yoruba, Swahili will be spoken by more people in the world than languages like German, Russian, Italian.
    There will be more people speaking Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo in places like Houston than Spanish.
    The languages of Ethiopia will be the second largest language group in the USA capital by middle of next century!

  4. Jerry Musungo writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa this will go a long way in preserving African languages our heritage. Even the senior citizens will have fun with Sasai

    My reply,
    Jerry, I don’t see it as “preserving” but as “recognizing”.
    Yes, our languages will evolve like any other language in history; absorbing words, and sharing words with other communities; but they will not die!
    They are very much alive, but we have kept them away from the Digital platforms, and that is what we must change.

  5. #Pause:

    Let me tell you one of the biggest tasks ahead:
    We need to digitize books in our local languages, and get them online, as quickly as possible.
    We also need to ensure that books, and films from around the world are also being translated, and made available in local languages.
    This is an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone out there!

  6. Austin Uzim writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa

    Strive Masiyiwa I see that vision too great chief. And I’m super excited about it. I’ve already assembled a team for the Igbo Group Community on Sasai App. Among my team are also people who have worked for BBC in Igbo et al. Here are first thing:

    Step one: Download Sasai App.

    Step two: Follow Sasai Africa on Facebook page.

    Step 3: Ensure any team member recommended follows Strive Masiyiwa on his Facebook page because he will give more updates on this assignment.

    Step 4: All team will belong to one “Sasai Chat Group” which i shall create in earnest.

    On a other news chief, we saw a problem and we are solving it using a simple app we have developed. Nigeria is the highest case study of Sickle Cell victims in the world. People occassionally fall victims as a result of not being Genotype Sure before going into marriage.

    My friend and partner Dr Ogwa Sim saw this challenge, by the way she is a medical entrepreneur, we developed an app which went lige today on Play store. It is called GenoSure App and you can download the app here:

    Above all things chief, we want this app to be able to inform people of the dangers of marriage without proper Genosure approval, we therefore crave your indulgence to integrate this app into Sasai Exolore.

    Austin Uzim

    My reply,
    Great work Austin!
    Great Work!
    Looks like we have our first group, right there!
    The guys will be in touch with you..

    #2. I think your App is a very important initiative. I will ask the team to review it, and if they are happy; it will be added to @Sasai Explore/Well-being segment. That means anyone in the world can use it.
    There is a medical advisory group at Maisha HealthTech, who study these issues.

  7. Omoruyi Folarin Osas writes,


    Sir, while we do the language compilation. I think it will be nice to also compile a brief history of the Languages and the cultures.

    This can then be added to the eLearn section we have already in the App. In the future, our kids can read about diverse African Histories through Sasai.

    Also, it will serve as a medium of opening Africa to the world via showcasing our rich Cultures.


    My reply,
    I love this!
    Please make it happen.
    Sasai will soon activate their own Facebook page where they can engage on all these issues.
    This idea is really great.

  8. Adedayo Olumuyiwa writes,

    Hello great Chief, how is the family and the business of business?

    Sir, I appreciate your kind consideration. Putting people on MBS into is really impressive. It demonstrates the fact that you believe in us!

    Great Chief, I want to give this pieces of advice as you and the team consider those for this continent-impacting task!

    Sir, people, potential and practice. People here means, Integrity. Potential means, Competency and Practice means, what are you currently into.

    Here is my take and Edubrainics Africa Consulting Ltd’s pitch:

    1. We are an education and research-driven organization.

    2. We already have existing teachers and schools we do business with. In my recent post, I indicated the fact that we just trained educators and that our next training is going to be on Sterling Sasai App!

    3. I am a Yoruba, more importantly from Oyo State. In fact, I am a proud son of Oduduwa(the legendary father of the Yoruba race) including your friend, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, according to the Yoruba mythology!

    4. My strength and that of our organization’s strength is RESEARCH. As you yourself, great Chief, can also attest and have repeatedly praised and given Edubrainics Africa #ShoutOuts on MBS.

    5. We have supported, the prelaunch and the launch of Sterling Sasai. It will be our honour if we are given the opportunity to contribute our ingenious practical quota, great Chief!

    6. My background is Mass Communication. It is a cognate skill, needed to bring forth an error free cognition-based project like this!

    Lastly, I will be highly grateful if I am considered for this noble venture that clearly alligns with my God-given strengths!

    Thanks great Chief and see you soon.

    P.S. Remember I once told you that almost a decade ago or thereabouts when Econet came to Nigeria. I did a research for Econet, titled “The Eclipse of Econet:Escape Velocity.’ Mrs. Folake Ojeikere(human resource mgr) invited me for an interview!

    My reply,
    I like your pitch!
    Perhaps we can outsource this initiative or parts of it to your team?

    Do you think, you could coordinate translations on our behalf, as a contractor?

    My leadership team will pick this up and run with it.

  9. #Pause:

    The problems people face, are your entrepreneurial opportunities!

    If you have learnt nothing else on this platform, this is it:


    Ever since I learnt this, I have never been angry or frustrated with most challenges that I see!

    Out of it, always comes a diamond!

    Remember my mantra:


    Let me give you a reminder:

    #1. My housekeeper in SA was a woman from Zimbabwe. She was paying R20 for every R100, sent home!
    I thought it was wrong, and applied to the SA Central Bank for a remittance license. It took us years to get one, but finally last year we got it:
    Now, you see Sasai Remittance!
    We have reduced the R20 to R2,50!
    Meanwhile we have licenses to send money anywhere in Africa from SA. We also have licenses for UK and US.

    #”Let’s roll!”

  10. #Pause:

    The problems people face, are your entrepreneurial opportunities!

    If you have learnt nothing else on this platform, this is it:


    Ever since I learnt this, I have never been angry or frustrated with most challenges that I see!

    Out of it, always comes a diamond!

    Remember my mantra:


    Let me give you a remainders:

    #1. If you look carefully at each of the Icons of Sasai Explore, with the eyes of an entrepreneur; you will find that I have began to address some of the challenges that affect Entrepreneurs, including Access to Finance!
    Now, it might take years to finally crack it, but it’s one of the Icons on Sasai Explore!
    Can you find it?

    Let’s see, if you have seen it!

  11. Tantoh Dickie writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa that’s true sir , I have been reading one of you book I don’t know how I found the soft copy of this book (HOW TO BUILT BILLION DOLLARS BUSINESS IN AFRICA) chapter 1-3 is the must interested part the book I discover how start all you are today with identifying a need a providing a solution , again and all the challenges you went through . There’s a watch words I always use ” I told you that is possible not that it’s going to be easy” once you identify a need and go in to solve it , it will automatically be valuable that’s where success start .

    My reply,
    I have never published a book.
    I understand someone compiled material and published it. They should have stated clearly that I did not write the book.

  12. Desiré Munga writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa I am not happy. On the day this app was launched I downloaded but till date I have not been able to signup . I try almost every hour and they keep telling me error code

    My reply,
    Desiré, you must solve this simple problem, and then go out to teach others who might be having the same problem.
    Don’t allow yourself to be wearied, and frustrated by small problems. Leave that for the real problems of life.

  13. Bro Monyelani Jr. Writes,

    But I checked it out its working only in three countries

    My reply,
    Every two weeks, we will update the platform. If you are on version 2, you will realize the changes we made.

    On this platform, I want you to come with the eyes of an entrepreneur and not the eyes of a consumer of the product:
    I need you to come to the kitchen and see how we cook a good meal. Putting the ingredients together.
    Even the great products like Whats App, have been going through a “perfecting process” for almost 10 years.
    As an entrepreneur you start with what you have then #scaleIt.

    I invite you to the entrepreneurial kitchen, and not the dining room!

    There is FB page for Sasai customers. I don’t comment there. Just like I don’t comment on FB page of Econet.

  14. Austin Uzim writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa please brother, follow Sasai Africa on their Facebook page and escalate this issue with them. You will be happier seeing them sort it out. I equally have done same because a lot of people are also asking me what they can do, I have always advised follow them.on Facebook.

    My reply,

    Sasai’s own FB page is the best place to deal with consumer issues. They have people who are reading customer comments, and trying to address them.

    In Zimbabwe for instance, Cassava has “5000 Brand Ambassadors”~ young people who are very tech savvy; when a product is launched that needs people to download an App, they are activated. They go to bus stops, and markets where they simply download for anyone having a difficulty!
    They also have 50,000 EcoCash agents who can also be activated to help people download.

  15. Thabang Matlou writes,

    Any Ambassador in South Africa?

    My reply,
    Yes! They have been activated. Right now they are focused on the Zimbabwe community to get them to take advantage of the “zero %” offer, which has been now extended to 90 days!
    They will then turn their attention to other nationalities, like Nigeria, Lesotho, Ethiopia.
    Finally they will turn their attention to the whole of SA. We have partnered with one of the MNOs, and you will soon hear an announcement!

  16. Goodluck Ojusin writes,

    Still on the search on how I could make a living through our own Sasai.
    In one of the community I operate my franchised business, this morning I walk into a local chemist and asked for permission to check on her products. She was a bit nervous but later on gave me a go ahead. I log into Sasai and on the scan sessions I place it on the drugs coverage experimenting five successful.
    This was the number that actually showed up on my device to “Chloroquine Sirop” 615400033767.
    Leader I humble seek for more education so I could be enlighten more.

    My reply,
    I love the way you did this!

    The Scan function has not yet been activated for things like fake drugs.
    You remember my mantra:
    “If every thing is s priority, nothing is.”
    There is just too much to do at the moment.
    I think this one is at least 12 months away:
    For the scan service to work in your country, we first need to enter an agreement with every single importer, manufacturer, and official distributor of drugs. We then build a national data base that is updated daily in the cloud. An App embedded in the scan would then search the data base using a QR code system.
    There is a company in Cassava called Maisha Medik. They are the ones charged with developing this part of the Sasai platform.
    They will have to go country by country, and they will be looking for partners in the health tech space, who could see this as an opportunity.

  17. #Reflection:

    What has this got to do with AI?


    AI is driven by Data, and if we don’t capture our languages, cultures and activities in Digital form, then Africa’s data is missing!
    We cannot open the opportunities offered for our entrepreneurs unless we step up the digitization process!

  18. Inusah Awal Mohammed writes,

    Can we have audios of the languages as well?

    Sasai is a big data bank.
    And I am observing well to seize an opportunity.

    My reply,
    Develop something and bring it to us. We will give you an API, if it works properly:

    You are the entrepreneur!
    Seize it [this idea] before someone else does!

  19. Blessing Machiya Shumbakadzi writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa since this is already happening, I don’t see why Sasai is using emojis from WhatsApp. Can our language teams also come up with Africanised emojis? As Africans we are a very expressive people and I really do feel that the current emojis do not reflect who we really are as a people. I had thought to do it myself but realize that it needs more expertise than what I currently am capable of. I want to type in “ngoma” on Sasai and see the African drum emoji.

    My reply,
    What an opportunity for you!
    It’s your idea, now go make it happen.
    Rush because someone else heard you, and they will jump in ahead of you.

  20. Beyours Brown Ncube writes,

    Let us not leave out our Rural folks. I wish to see development spear headed from isolated remote rural areas. They need good network coverage and get them exposed to this. Let us not leave any o our Africa Brother, Sister, Father, Mother, Gran and Grand Pa. Let’s get everyone involved.

    My reply,
    I agree with you.
    However, here is my challenge:
    We cannot do everything. We need entrepreneurs like you to get involved.
    For instance Rural people struggle to download Apps. We need young entrepreneurs who see this as an opportunity:
    They can form groups that help people to download Apps [ not just Sasai]:
    Our people are not enjoying the benefits available on Apps, because there is no one helping them to identify and download Apps.
    If a young person, charged 20 cents to download Apps, and went out to help in market places, they can make more money than trying to sell things on streets.
    It would also create jobs.

    #Where are the entrepreneurs?

  21. Julius Ogbeha writes,

    We already doing that with Shakespeare’s Hamlet translated in Pidgin English Language and Romeo and Juliet Also translated in Pidgin English Language as Rukevwe and Julie ( ) and (

    My reply,
    I wish I could see it!
    It would be great if we could also create an opportunity for content such as this to be made available to a wider African audience.
    We also need to create an opportunity for African content to have a Market Place”, where they could sell their material.

  22. Et’z Mhizter Deen writes,


    My reply,
    You too are a shameless scam artist, and a thief. That is what you are a “Thief”!
    Each time you look at a mirror, you will be looking at a thief and a scoundrel, until you stop all this Illuminati and Juju nonsense!
    Shame of you!
    One day you will go to jail, or worse, that I can guarantee you!
    We police our platform to ensure that no one like you and your organization together with that “Baba” guy from Ghana are blocked whenever you post.
    Today I just thought to call your type to order!
    “Tief! tief! tief!”


  23. Solomon Solomon writes,

    And at last, we are on business. We have started a new business in a rural village in Botswana. We offer sasai app on phones installation for a fee in remote areas where they is limited internet access. We also offer free training to our clients on how to use the app.

    My reply,
    Now that is being practical!
    I heard about a guy in Zimbabwe who is making US $50 per day helping people download Apps.

    We need to develop a new type of business called “App Agent”!
    These guys would set up kiosks, and also go around markers etc, downloading Apps like Sasai.
    So many people out there don’t know about Apps, and how powerful they can be.

  24. #A lesson from the Entrepreneur’s kitchen:

    Digital platforms, particularly when they have been built from scratch [like Sasai], always have “software bugs”, during the first few weeks of live commercial operation.
    What you must do [as an entrepreneur] is systematically and methodically find and correct the bugs.
    Even if you know the bugs, you sometimes cannot just correct them every day, because it would destabilize the service.
    In the case of Sasai App, we update the App every two weeks.
    The next big one is Friday 30th August [Midnight SA time]. When you wake up Saturday check for “updates on the App Store Icon” of your phone.
    There are some big new features being added, as well as correcting some of the challenges you have seen.

  25. Amadou Lamine Diallo writes,

    Good evening chairman, I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs numbering over 2000, I’ve pitched Sasai to the program/group manager so that we can adopt Sasai as the official group platform since it involves transactions aside the normal chats, but i noticed that Sasai has an accommodation capacity for only 250 people per group. Currently we’re using telegram. He agreed to test the app and give feedback. And also there’s a group particularly for people from my community, we wish to switch to Sasai because it’ll catch all those who use “Transaction Charges” as an excuse for not participating during group contribution for our community projects. Please sir I’ll be more than glad if the Sasai team can put this into consideration. Thank you sir.

    My reply,
    I have also raised the same issue.
    I want to Sasai with 4m on this platform, and giving more personalized coaching for some of you.
    They have promised to deal with this problem.

  26. # Don’t make this big mistake!

    Many entrepreneurs think that a successful venture requires only one big idea:
    They say to themselves, “All I need is this big idea; then I find money to set up a business; hire some people, and watch the money come in!”
    This is simplistic because a modern business [in the mobile and digital era] is not a bottle store in the township!

    Before a venture like Sasai here becomes a success, you will need to “EntrepreneurIt 1000 times”!
    It is a process of daily tinkering with different ideas, challenges, and solutions. It does not matter whether it’s Amazon, or Facebook. They all had to do it.
    The entrepreneurial journey is constant, continuous and persistent. It’s every day!


    Someone asked me the other day:

    “You have launched so many products and new services, I can’t keep up! Don’t you get tired? Don’t you just want to rest?”

    Here is my answer:

    #1. When you say I launch too many products and services. First of all you need to realize that I’m not the one launching them. Econet is a collection of many people that I have carefully selected, nurtured, and encouraged to become great entrepreneurs themselves. I trained them to believe that coming to work is about finding solutions to problems. The human being is at his or her greatest as a thinker, not a beast of burden.

    I demand and get innovation even if you are simply cleaning the building, because even that could suddenly become a business opportunity!

    There are actually a lot more things developed and launched than most people ever see. It has to be that way, because the key part of a job description is INNOVATE!

    #2. It depends who you are comparing to:
    If I were running a company in Israel, or Silicon Valley, or Shenzhen; I would be considered a slow coach!

    Set your benchmark to the best in the world, and not to your local community, otherwise you will end up patting yourself on the back just even as you delude yourself.

    #I wish I had the resources, and people to do more, and even faster!

    #I wish others in my own communities would be inspired themselves to go out and do more innovation.
    If we don’t innovate more, and quicker, we will never achieve meaningful and sustainable prosperity.

    As for get tired, I don’t know the meaning of the word! I have been “striving” for excellent all my life.

  28. Austin Uzim writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa innovation upon innovation makes a venture successful. Sir, may your team also kindly consider this gaming platform to be integrated into Sasai.

    According to, Bet9ja is the second most visited website in Nigeria, only next to, as at September 2018.
    Bet9ja was co-founded by Ayo Ojuroye and Kunle Soname who are its CEO and chairman respectively

    Base on his near 100% stake in KC Gaming Networks Limited, the company that ownsBet9ja, it is safe to calculate that Kunle Soname net worth is around $100million.

    However, the current CEO of Bet9ja betting company is Mr Ayao Ojuroye and he’s different from the owner who is Kunle.28 Afi, 2019.

    My reply,
    Yes I know them, and I have no doubt they will be very successful.
    I will never invest in a business that does BETTING [Gambling] of any kind.
    It’s not my place to judge those who do, condemn or criticize, as long as it is lawful in the land.
    I could easily have saved the media venture, if I had agreed to take advertising from BETTING companies. They were willing to pay millions, but I refused.
    I stand by Mark 10:29-30, as it has always been faithful to me.

    So when we talk of GAMING on Sasai, it does not include anything that involves Gambling.

  29. Julius Ogbeha writes,

    Set your benchmark to be best in the world, Inspiring Sir.. We ( My group ) currently working on how to make available our work ( Pidgin English Translation ) to a wider Audience in Africa and the world at large using the Sasai App. The book and the stage play of Rukevwe and Julie,the pidgin English version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is almost completed. Sir,please can our work be on Sasai App? We currently working on a campus tour to stage play both Hamlet in Pidgin and Romeo & Juilet in Pidgin English. Sir, We deliberating on having our work on Sasai app and Using Sasai App download as part of our gate fee . the link to the book Hamlet in Pidgin Author by Ogini Bernard ,Member of my group.

    My reply,
    We are developing a platform under Sasai Explore, which will enable creative African producers to post their material, on a country by country basis [and her open to whole world].
    It will work like Amazon Prime:
    Once approved, we will allow you to sell it, and give us a small commission.

    I particularly like African comedians, even when I don’t understand what they saying!
    I want to post their content, and help them monetize their content.

    This platform is still a few months away. But it will come for sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *