Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from MXit)

Developer(s)Mxit (Pty) Ltd.
Initial release2005
Stable release
Operating systemWindows, Windows Mobile, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Java ME, Symbian S60
TypeInstant Messenger

Mxit (pronounced "mix it") was a free instant messaging application developed by Mxit (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa that ran on over 8,000 devices, including feature phones, Symbian S60, Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and tablets.[1]

According to a study by consultancy World Wide Worx, Mxit had 7.4 million monthly active subscribers in July 2013, of which 6.3 million were South Africans.[2]

The company announced its closure in a statement on October 23, 2015.[3] All of the company's intellectual property and technology assets were donated to The Reach Trust, an independent public benefit organisation.[3] While initially the organisational changes did not affect the mobile social network, and users were still able to access and use all its services, in September 2016 it was announced that the service would be closing on September 30.


Mxit originates from Stellenbosch, a university town in South Africa. In 1997, Herman Heunis established Swist Group Technologies and focused primarily on the mobile telecommunications industry, developing software and providing system support to large Telco's. In 2000 Clockspeed Mobile, a research and development division of Swist Group Technologies, developed a Massive Multiplayer Mobile game named Arya. The game was SMS based and was not successful due to the high cost of SMS since GPRS was still not widely implemented. In 2003 the game was reassessed and the MXit concept was conceived by Herman that same year, MXit has evolved to become a major IM player in the South African arena thereafter.[4] In April 2004 Clockspeed Mobile became independent and on July 1, 2006, became MXit Lifestyle (Pty) Ltd.[5] In January 2007, media giant Naspers acquired a 30% stake in the company for an undisclosed amount.[6] In 2013, competitor 2go overtook Mxit in term of users across Africa.[7]

In September 2011, Mxit was acquired by South African investment group, World of Avatar.[8]

Following the abrupt resignation of then boss, Alan Knott-Craig, Jr., Francois Swart received the nod from Mxit to become the new CEO (Mzekandaba, 2013).[9]

Former First National Bank CEO Michael Jordaan was announced chairman of the Mxit board in September 2013.[10]

The shutting down of Mxit was announced on October 23, 2015, in a public statement by the company after user numbers dropped dramatically over the last 2–3 years. Competition from other social platforms such as Blackberry Messenger, and, later, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger along with Mxit's own lack of technological advances in the social arena attributed to the company's closure. The donating all of its intellectual property and technology assets to independent public benefit organisation The Reach Trust was announced in the statement issued by the company.[3]

In September 2016, active users of Mxit were notified that the service would be closed on September 24.[11]


Mxit was first released as a mobile phone instant messaging client, and required Java (J2ME) and internet connectivity via CSD, GPRS, 3G or Wifi to run.

Originally built for feature phones, versions were also released for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile devices and tablets.[1]

In addition to one-on-one and group chat functions, Mxit offered public chat zones, as well as apps and a games ecosystem.[1]


Supported platforms[edit]

Mxit was available on a variety of mobile and computing platforms, each independently developed for the platform. Those were:

Historical last versions[edit]

Platform Last version Release date Third party
Java ME 7.1.0 November 12, 2013 No
BlackBerry January 27, 2014 No
iPhone 7.2.0 April 5, 2014 No
Android 7.2.1 April 23, 2014 No
Windows Phone 8 December 6, 2012 No
Windows Phone 7 May 25, 2012 No
Linux 2.9.0, Pidgin June 23, 2011 Yes, Pidgin only,
bundled plugin
Microsoft Windows 2.9.0, Pidgin
2.0.1, MXit Evo
June 23, 2011
December 13, 2010
Yes, Pidgin,
bundled plugin
Mac OS X 1.0 August 31, 2009 Yes, Adium only,
separate plugin[12]

International presence[edit]

Mxit operated in many international markets. Mxit was officially supported in Malaysia, India, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and South Africa. In August 2007 Mxit commissioned their European Data Centre located in Frankfurt, Germany. The purpose of this server farm was to take over most of the international traffic from the South African servers.[13] In September 2010, Mxit launched in Kenya, making it the first country outside of South Africa to have access to the full range of features.


On November 4, 2014, Mxit scored 0 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's secure messaging scorecard. It lost points because communications are not encrypted in transit, communications are not encrypted with a key the provider doesn't have access to, users can't verify contacts' identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen, the code is not open to independent review, the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent code audit.[14]


  1. ^ a b c ""Download Mxit"". Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  2. ^ SA Social Media Landscape 2014, World Wide Worx
  3. ^ a b c "Last throw of the dice for Mxit". News24. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  4. ^ "" About Mxit"". Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "MXit Forum • View topic - MXit Lifestyle (Pty) Ltd". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  6. ^ "Naspers acquires a 30% share in MXit". Naspers. January 26, 2007. Archived from the original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  7. ^ "2go overtakes Mxit in Africa - study"
  8. ^ Atagana, Michelle (September 22, 2011). "Exclusive: Alan Knott-Craig buys Mxit, Herman Heunis steps down". memeburn.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  9. ^ "Mxit finally gives Francois Swart the CEO nod"
  10. ^ "Ex FNB head honcho Michael Jordaan named Mxit chairman"
  11. ^ Ellis, Megan (September 15, 2016). "The end of Mxit is officially here". iafrica.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  12. ^ "View forum: Version Support". Mxit Forum. phpBB Group. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "MXit Forum • View forum - Mxit International". Archived from the original on August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
  14. ^ "Secure Messaging Scorecard. Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on November 15, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2015.

External links[edit]