Safaricom has quite a number of apps to its roster and one of the more interesting ones was Bonga.
They announced Bonga last year, which was a new instant messaging platform with deep MPESA integration. The app was developed by the Alpha team which was headed by the former iHub CEO, Kamal Bhattacharya who since left the company late last year.
Well, there has been a significant change to the app, as now Bonga will be renamed to Zwuup! (I have no idea how to pronounce this). We have no idea to the rationale behind the name change since big name changes to an app show a complete rethink by the company of how they view the product.
This rebrand brought about a new feature called Pockets and it is quite interesting. It allows groups to raise money for a cause which can be beneficial in a number of ways thanks to the deep M-PESA integration. Currently, the service is being beta tested to Safaricom Staff members.
Bonga was marketed as a way for people to”experience M-PESA in a new way”. When you chat with people, you could request money from the other party and the money would be reflected to your account. In addition to chatting and requesting for money from one another, you could transact with your MPESA account right from the app, just like how you’d do it on the STK menu or on the MySafaricom MPESA menu.
This rebrand could be a fresh rethink of what the app’s potential could be. Safaricom is in that unique position where they can be able to make an app that can be used daily by the average Kenyan and Bonga could be it to trap more people into its ecosystem. We do not have an idea when Zwuup! will be formally announced but this may come sooner or later.
[UPDATE] Safaricom claims that the reason they opted for zwuup! is because many of their customers confused Bonga for Bonga points. Adding that the name zwuup!, which is the sound something makes as it passes you. A lot of people will be passed by this.
Below is the logo