I recently got an email from one of South Africa’s leading mobile network operators, Cell C, about “a pretty exciting new project” called the Cell C South African Street Dictionary.
The project is an initiative to allow the emerging techno-conscious South African citizen to express themselves through the urban colloquialisms of modern South African language. Now for those that don’t know much about my country, it’s pretty diverse. There’s 11 official national languages, and it comes as no surprise that many words are carried over from each language, thus creating an eclectic blend of accents and slang words that so uniquely express the South African experience.
The site is stylishly designed, with the generic branding of Cell C. Interestingly, the first word in the welcome headline is “heita” – perhaps a dig at competitor 8ta? The home page offers a concise overview of the reason for initiating the project (alluding to the youth march of June 16th and the need for unique expression), as well as a sidebar showing the top 10 SA street words.
The site is simple in layout, and this makes it fun and easy to use. Users can even submit their own words to the dictionary. Each entry has the commonplace social sharing features, and there’s also an option to subscribe to the “Word of the Day” feature.
I can see that the intentions of Cell C are in good light, but this still carries with it a sort of PR or marketing stunt that is unavoidable in this increasingly competitive market. What with Vocacom going red (and making their customers – myself included – seeing red from experiencing hideous network service), it pays to offer added products that show the company cares about its customers. It’ll be interesting to see where they take the South African Street Dictionary in the near future. If you’re a South African, an ex-pat, or a foreigner due to visit our shores soon (or simply curious about South African culture) this website is worth a visit.
Visit it: www.sastreetdictionary.co.za